As workforce shortages persist across aging services, providers are looking to foreign-born workers as one potential source for filling open positions. Immigrants already are significant contributors to the long-term care workforce: over 30% of all home care aides, over 20% of all nursing assistants, 20% of RNs in nursing homes and over 15% of licensed practical nurses (LPNs) in nursing homes are foreign born. LeadingAge is supporting policies, programs, and innovations that expand pathways for foreign-born workers to enter the U.S. to join the aging services sector.
Follow this story for updates and ideas.
April 24, 2023
Border Security Bill Passes Committee
On April 19, the House Committee on the Judiciary marked up the Border Security and Enforcement Act of 2023 (H.R. 2640).” Representatives Tom McClintock (R-CA) and Andy Biggs (R-AZ) released the immigration bill on April 17 that would provide border protection, reform the asylum system, crack down on the employment of undocumented workers, and expand migrant family detention. The bill is the House Republican response to high levels of migration on the U.S.-Mexico border. House Republicans have made border security a focal point of their new majority and addressing it is seen as a stepping stone to immigration reforms to help address the aging services workforce shortage.
Exploring Immigration Solutions for Workforce Shortage
On April 11, LeadingAge met with the Migration Policy Institute (MPI) to discuss a wide range of potential immigration reforms that could help address the aging services workforce shortage. MPI’s April 2023 policy briefWhat Role Can Immigration Play in Addressing Current and Future Labor Shortages?examines how immigration can help address labor shortages, the trade-offs that governments must navigate, and current and potential approaches to factoring labor shortages into economic immigration policies. LeadingAge looks forward to working with MPI as we advocate solutions to the long-term care workforce shortage.
April 07, 2023
Early FY23 H-2B Visa Cap Reached
On March 31, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced it had received enough petitions to reach the cap for the additional 16,500 H-2B visas made available for returning workers for the early second half of FY23 with start dates from April 1, 2023 to May 14, 2023, under the FY 2023 H-2B supplemental visa temporary final rule.
McKnight's: Reaches Limit for Additional Returning Worker H-2B Visas
McKnight’s Senior Living Business Daily News reports the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has received enough petitions to reach the congressionally mandated cap for the additional 16,500 H-2B visas made available for returning workers for the early second half of fiscal year 2023 for foreign workers starting April 1 to May 14, the agency announced Friday.
LeadingAge members participated in a Workforce Snap Poll in March 2023 that showed a sizeable interest in how to tap into immigrants and refugees as aging services caregivers. As LeadingAge senior vice president of government policy Ruth Katz shared in her recent blog, “members of Congress on both sides of the aisle can come together and do something meaningful to help trained, qualified people from other countries to legally enter the United States and work in aging services. It will take courage and political will to frame and fund these solutions, but it must be done.”
Katz emphasizes the Administration can create pathways for refugees that can benefit from working in aging services. On the workforce snap poll, one LeadingAge member shared that “there seems to be no urgency among government agencies involved in [helping foreign workers come to the U.S.]” and another stated that they “have 100 caregivers petitioned and have been spending years to get them over.”
March 09, 2023
Immigration Support in President's FY 2024 Budget Proposal
The budget requests $7.3 billion for the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) to help rebuild the Nation’s refugee resettlement infrastructure and support the resettling of up to 125,000 refugees in 2024. Further, it includes a request for $865 million for United States Citizenship and Immigration Services to process an increasing asylum caseload, reduce the historically high immigration benefit request backlog, support the Citizenship and Integration Grant Program, and improve refugee processing to advance the Administration’s goal of admitting 125,000 refugees.
LeadingAge Co-signs Letter Opposing Proposed Immigration Services Fee Schedule Changes
LeadingAge joined other health and long-term care services and support organizations to send a March 6 letter to the Department of Homeland Security on itsproposedincreases to immigration and naturalization benefit request fees charged by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Twenty national organizations signed the letter. With 1 in 4 direct care workers born outside of the U.S., the letter reiterates LeadingAge’s strong support of our nation’s immigrants who make up a large portion of the long-term care workforce. The “increased fees could take a toll on long-term care communities that rely heavily on immigrants to care for their residents,” the letter says. The letter asks USCIS to consider implementing operational changes to save costs and offers ideas for consideration. Additionally, the letter urges USCIS to focus on ways to expediate immigrant visa processing to bring much-needed health care workers to the U.S. and requests USCIS continue its work to address delays in the “file transfer” associated with premium processing of I-140 Immigrant Petitions for Registered Nurses. The letter can be accessedhere.
March 01, 2023
QuickCast: Filling the Care Gap
In this 21-minute Learning Hub QuickCast, Natasha Bryant shares key findings from a research project on hiring and integrating foreign-born workers in our field. LeadingAge members can access “Filling the Care Gap” QuickCast free, which summarizes LTSS Center research and offers:
An overview of the presence and impact of foreign-born workers in the long-term care sector.
Tips on how to integrate foreign-born workers into workplace.
Insights based on research and feedback from nine human resource directors from the U.S., U.K., Australia and Canada on:
Issues that may arise and how to address and resolve them
Recommendations on how managers can support and integrate foreign born workers into their team
January 19, 2023
New “Welcome Corps” Refugee Resettlement Program Launched
On January 19, the Department of State, in collaboration with the Department of Health and Human Services, announcedthe creation of the “Welcome Corps” a new private sponsorship program that allows American citizens to support the resettlement and integration of refugees. The program allows groups of five or more Americans to assist refugees with everything from finances to finding a place to live. The program will roll out in two phases, with a goal of matching 10,000 U.S. citizens with 5,000 refugees in the first year, according to a DOS Fact Sheet. During the first phase, volunteers will be matched with refugees already approved under the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program. In the second phase, which will begin mid-2023 according to the State Department, sponsors will be able to identify refugees and refer them to the admissions program.
January 10, 2023
Administration Expands Legal Pathways to the U.S.
President Biden unveiled a new policy on January 5 that the Administration says will increase security at the Southwest border and expand legal pathways for safe, orderly and humane migration. The announcement included expansion of the “Venezuela Parole” program to Cuba, Haiti, and Nicaragua as part of the Administration’s New Border Enforcement Actions. On January 10, the Essential Worker Immigration Coalition (EWIC), of which LeadingAge is a member, issued a statement in support of the expansion, in the absence of action by Congress. EWIC members continue to believe that a key component to successful reform of our nation’s immigration system is the creation of a visa program that provides a legal way for U.S. employers to access workers to supplement their workforce when the economy needs them. The statement also reiterates that EWIC looks forward to working with the 118th Congress to address our flawed and outdated immigration laws “both at the border and through legal immigration reform.”
October 28, 2022
Venezuelan Migration Process Expands Legal Pathways to Citizenship and Employment
On October 12 the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced actions to reduce the number of people arriving at the U.S. Southwest border, and create a more orderly and safe process for people fleeing the humanitarian and economic crisis in Venezuela. Individual businesses, including LeadingAge members, could ultimately provide support for Venezuelans arriving through this process, and provide employment opportunities.
Stories of Immigration and Refugee Success in Senior Communities
As the topic of expanding the recruitment pipeline for aging services to immigration and refugee opportunities picks up in the United States, LeadingAge highlights a couple of success stories in senior communities:
An International Workforce Program as a Source of Well-Trained Staff
Nonprofit aging services providers are using creative strategies to cope with workforce shortages. Western Home Communities, a full-continuum nonprofit provider in Cedar Falls, IA, is responding to chronic workforce shortages by welcoming its first group of hospitality interns from Jamaica this summer. A group of 34 interns will arrive in late June with J-1 visas obtained through the U.S. State Department’s Exchange Visitor Program.
The acute shortage of frontline workers plagues long-term services and supports (LTSS) providers—and is now receiving much-needed media attention—but the struggle doesn’t end there. Providers face daunting challenges filling other positions as well, especially in licensed nursing. One solution to the nursing shortage is the recruitment of immigrant nurses, and LeadingAge member Chicago Methodist Senior Services (CMSS) has created its own solution.
CMSS created United Methodist Healthcare Recruitment (UMHR) in 2005 to facilitate the recruitment of nurses from the Philippines; today, more than 15 years later, the program is going strong despite disruptions caused by the pandemic.
Workforce Shortages: Bold Solutions from LeadingAge
This week LeadingAge publicly released the IMAGINE initiative – a bold set of proposals to increase the number of foreign-born aging services workers available in the United States. The paper accompanying the announcement describes the challenge and offers ideas for solutions in the form of a series of proposed changes to the country’s immigration laws.
Journal of the American Society on Aging: The Politics of Immigration
Current immigration policy has potentially dire consequences for the aging population, particularly regarding the availability of direct care workers, who provide most formal long-term services and supports (LTSS) to older adults. This article summarizes the prevalence and characteristics of the immigrant direct care workforce, including how workers come to the United States, the importance of immigrants to LTSS service delivery, and implications of today’s immigration policy for the current and future immigrant direct care workforce. It also provides an alternative vision for immigration reform that supports workforce development.
New Reports Explore Global Expansion of Foreign-Born LTSS Workforce
Foreign-born nurses and personal care assistants make up an increasingly significant percentage of workers in the field of long-term services and supports (LTSS) around the world, according to new research from the Global Ageing Network and the LeadingAge LTSS Center @UMass Boston.
These immigrant/migrant workers, who come primarily from developing countries, bring myriad benefits to the LTSS organizations that employ them and the care recipients they serve, according to findings from a 2018 study by the LTSS Center.
Click here to access three new reports that explore those benefits, in addition to identifying challenges associated with hiring foreign-born LTSS workers, exploring strategies to address those challenges, and providing an overview of global migration patterns and policies.
February 23, 2017
Research Explores the LTSS Migrant/Immigrant Workforce
The LeadingAge Center for Applied Research (CFAR) is working with the Global Ageing Network to explore the role that migrant/immigrant workers can play in delivering long-term services and supports (LTSS) to the world’s growing older population.
CFAR researchers will examine the complex issues facing nations that are experiencing a decline in the availability of native-born workers and caregivers even as the demand for qualified LTSS workers increases dramatically. “The use of a migrant and immigrant workforce has broad implications for the recruitment, retention, and working conditions of these workers,” says Bryant. “It also affects the recipients of care, the quality of care they receive, and the workplace environment at provider organizations.”