Immigrants often punch above their weight, says new research from the American Immigration Council
The American Immigration Council has released new research highlighting the crucial role immigrants are playing to help address critical workforce shortages in healthcare at the state-level.
As states grapple with meeting growing healthcare needs, especially in rural counties, “The Growing Demand for Healthcare Workers,” report highlights an opportunity specifically for 13 states.
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It suggests introducing innovative policies that attract and retain immigrant talent that is complementary to the US-born workforce, and that also build career pathways for immigrants who already call the state home.
There is growing demand for healthcare workers across the US. Between 2017 and 2021, states from Oregon to Virginia saw an increase in the number of online job postings for unique healthcare worker positions, the report noted.
Immigrants often punch above their weight, representing a larger share of workers in healthcare roles like physicians, surgeons, dental hygienists, and respiratory therapists than their share of the population, it said.
Demand for bilingual healthcare workers is on the rise. Immigrants can help contribute to the growing multilingual and cultural competency needs in the healthcare workforce.
Although there is a growing need for healthcare workers, many immigrants who received specialized training abroad cannot practice in the state, the report noted.
In 2021, many immigrants with healthcare-related professional and doctorate degrees were working in a healthcare occupation that did not require one.
“Communities across these 13 states, and the nation, have faced dire healthcare worker shortages for years, a challenge that has only been exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic,” said Leani García Torres, Chief of Staff at the American Immigration Council
“Many immigrants have received specialized education, licensing, and training internationally that would qualify them to help meet these needs today, but they continue to face barriers to practicing in the United States.”
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“To meet the growing healthcare needs across these states, especially in rural counties, the states need innovative policies that attract and retain talent and create career pathways that help ensure everyone has access to quality care,” Torres said.
The report highlights contributions of immigrants in the healthcare industry in 13 states across the US: Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia and Wisconsin.