New Report: Failure to Secure Immigration Status of 36,000 Afghan Refugees Could Cost the U.S. Economy More Than 1.7B in Potential Earnings

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Afghan Adjustment Act Statistics

Upwardly Global demonstrates how Afghan newcomers are critical to help fill the more than 10M open jobs; urges passage of the Afghan Adjustment Act

WASHINGTON, D.C. According to a new report from Upwardly Global, the displacement of 36,000 Afghan refugees from the United States once their parolee and temporary protected statuses begin expiring in August 2023 may cost the economy more than $1.7 billion in potential earnings and more than $225 million in federal tax revenue.

Congress can change that by passing the Afghan Adjustment Act and ensuring that Afghans can stay and contribute their skills in the U.S.

The report, “Afghan Newcomers Bring Critical Value to the U.S. Economy and Society,details how refugees from Afghanistan now living in the United States have made major contributions to the U.S. economy. According to the report: 

  • The average starting salary for Afghan newcomers matched with skilled-aligned jobs through Upwardly Global is $59,440.
  • 41,000 Afghan newcomers currently living in the U.S. are of working age; an estimated 10,000 of this community have college educations and professional experience.
  • 38% of these educated Afghan newcomers hold a master’s degree; nearly 5.8% have medical training.
  • 18,000 of the Afghan refugees who have come to the U.S. since 2021 are women.


Since 2021, the U.S. has offered refuge to over 75,000 Afghans who risked their lives to support the U.S. presence in Afghanistan and have been targeted, along with their families, by the resurgent Taliban. With the visas of many newcomers expiring after two years, about 36,000 Afghans’ immigration statuses will be in limbo this year.

Upwardly Global’s report urges immediate action to protect Afghan newcomers, specifically calling on Congress to pass the Afghan Adjustment Act, which would provide a pathway to permanent residency status for Afghan refugees.

“We simply cannot afford to lose the contributions and potential of Afghan newcomers, who bring critical value to our economy and society,” says Jina Krause-Vilmar, President and CEO of Upwardly Global. “The Afghan Adjustment Act is a vital piece of legislation that will provide a pathway to permanent status for Afghan refugees and ensure that they can continue to contribute their skills and talents in the U.S.”

The report also highlights a number of Afghan newcomers and refugees, including Shahpur Pazhman, a former pilot with the Afghan Air Force who now lives outside Phoenix. He and family members that fled the country with him will be impacted if he loses his work authorization.


The U.S. economy added more than 300,000 jobs in February, continuing a hiring hot streak that has underpinned the country’s tight labor market. But even with the economy adding more than 800,000 jobs in the first two months of the year, there remain only 10,000,000 job openings across the U.S. compared to last year’s 11,000,000.

Recent reports found that the increased flow of immigrants and refugees has helped the U.S. economy significantly in its recovery, but much more needs to be done to help match refugee and asylum seeking professionals like those from Ukraine and Afghanistan with U.S. employers who need their skills.


About Upwardly Global
Upwardly Global’s mission is to eliminate employment barriers for immigrant and refugee professionals, and advance the inclusion of their skills into the U.S. economy. Since 2000, the organization has empowered newcomers with the skills, coaching, and social capital needed to rebuild their lives and careers in the U.S. To learn more about Upwardly Global, visit

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Joshua Garner,

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