Transformative legislation signed into law promises to address employment barriers for professional immigrants, refugees
Washington, D.C. — Upwardly Global commends the signage of the Bridging the Gap for New Americans Act, transformative legislation that highlights the untapped potential of professional immigrants and refugees in the American workforce. In a systemic recognition of Upwardly Global’s work with newcomers, the bipartisan law now requires the U.S. Department of Labor to study employment barriers for immigrants and refugees with international credentials.
“We did it! Upwardly Global worked tirelessly to bring Bridging the Gap into law having witnessed the systemic barriers immigrants and refugees face firsthand,” says Jina Krause-Vilmar, President and CEO of Upwardly Global. “This legislation will now forge a path forward for immigrant and refugee resettlement and workforce development in this country. Our community of Upwardly Global jobseekers is no longer invisible, and I couldn’t be more proud.”
Three years ago, Upwardly Global brought this issue to the forefront, raising awareness among legislators on the importance of legislative change. Since then, Upwardly Global has worked with partner organizations – led by World Education Services and the IMPRINT coalition – to build broad-based support. Over 200 organizations co-signed a letter urging Congress to support the legislation, and Upwardly Global Leadership Councils met with legislators to educate them on the barriers Upwardly Global’s own professional immigrant and refugee jobseekers encounter finding work in this country.
“As the U.S. workforce faces growing demands and employment gaps deepen in critical sectors, an estimated two million college-educated immigrants and refugees are unemployed or underemployed,” the letter read. “The stakes are considerable. This skill underutilization impacts the economy through forgone earnings and unrealized tax revenue; it deprives communities and employers of valuable training and experience; and it limits the economic mobility of immigrant and refugee workers.”
This year, a wave of global crises displaced millions of Afghans, Ukrainians, and others who now seek security in countries like the U.S. Over 80,000 Afghans and 100,000 Ukrainians have resettled in the U.S. Altogether, these professional newcomers bring skills that could contribute hundreds of millions of dollars to the U.S. economy with equitable access to employment opportunities. The Bridging the Gap Act will now address barriers on a federal level and point to solutions that could transform the lives of millions.
Upwardly Global is a national nonprofit whose mission is to eliminate employment barriers for immigrant and refugee professionals and advance the inclusion of their skills into the U.S. economy.