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Upwardly Global Endorses Legislation to Help Immigrants Enter Healthcare Professions

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House Bill Introduced by Sen. Adam Smith

WASHINGTON, D.C. Upwardly Global is proud to endorse the introduction of the Immigrants in Nursing and Allied Health Act, the International Medical Graduate (IMG) Assistance Act, and the Professional’s Access to Health (PATH) Workforce Integration Act introduced today by Rep. Adam Smith (D-WA).

These three bills would help immigrants with overseas medical training — including primary care physicians, nurses, behavioral health professionals, and technicians — enter healthcare professions and alleviate the shortage of workers that has taken a toll on our healthcare system.

  1. The Healthcare Workforce Resilience Act: This act aims to alleviate the shortage of healthcare workers by creating a streamlined pathway for qualified immigrant healthcare professionals to enter the industry. By recognizing the expertise and qualifications of these individuals, we can fill crucial gaps and provide quality care to those who need it most.
  2. The International Medical Graduates Residency Placement Act: Recognizing the immense talent of international medical graduates, this act focuses on facilitating their integration into the healthcare system. By increasing residency slots and ensuring fair access, we empower these skilled professionals to contribute their expertise and compassion to patient care.
  3. The Mental and Behavioral Health Education and Training Grant Program: Mental health is as important as physical health, and this act acknowledges that fact. By establishing a grant program, Rep. Adam Smith is paving the way for the training and development of immigrant behavioral health professionals. This will strengthen our ability to address the growing mental health needs of our communities.

Statements in support of the healthcare acts

“The United States faces a growing shortage of healthcare professionals that will worsen in the coming decade,” says Jina Krause-Vilmar, President and CEO of Upwardly Global. “Hundreds of thousands of immigrants and refugees, including underemployed professionals with international credentials, can help fill workforce gaps in our healthcare system if the government puts the right reforms and support in place. These three bills would help eliminate key barriers that prevent immigrants from entering the healthcare field in the United States. Upwardly Global applauds Rep. Smith for introducing this critical legislation package and his efforts to help build a more equitable and resilient healthcare system.”

“Our healthcare workforce is severely strained after years of grappling with the COVID-19 pandemic,” says Rep. Adam Smith. “We desperately need more healthcare workers and there are potentially millions of people here in the U.S. looking for jobs in the healthcare field but face significant unnecessary barriers.

“The package of legislation I’m introducing today would make it easier for immigrants to enter the healthcare workforce by providing funding for training, licensing, certification, and case management services and reduce licensing and certification hurdles for immigrants who come to the U.S. with previous healthcare experience. These three bills would pave pathways to high-quality, good-paying jobs, reduce the shortage of healthcare workers, and help rebuild our healthcare system in the Ninth District and across the country.”

More information on the healthcare acts

The Immigrants in Nursing and Allied Health Act would help immigrants, regardless of whether they have any previous healthcare experience, get the financial support they need to enter nursing and allied health careers, including mental and behavioral health and other healthcare professions.

A fact sheet about the Immigrants in Nursing and Allied Health Act can be found here. The bill text can be found here.

The International Medical Graduate (IMG) Assistance Act would help reduce the barriers that international medical graduates face when trying to complete the necessary training and certification to receive a U.S. medical license.

A fact sheet about the IMG Assistance Act can be found here. The bill text can be found here.

The Professional’s Access to Health (PATH) Workforce Integration Act would offer training and counseling opportunities to internationally trained health professionals who are U.S. citizens or immigrants legally residing in the U.S., while educating employers on the abilities and capacities of health professionals who have been educated overseas.

A fact sheet about the PATH Workforce Integration Act can be found here. The bill text can be found here.

Read Rep. Smith’s full statement on the legislation here.

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