Legislation could impact $646M annually in U.S. economy
NEW YORK – Upwardly Global, a leading workforce development organization supporting professional immigrants and refugees, is urging Congress to pass the Afghan Adjustment Act (AAA), which was recently introduced with bipartisan support in both the Senate (S.4787) and House of Representatives (H.R. 8685). The legislation would help expedite pathways to permanent, legal residency for Afghans, allowing professionals in this group to restart their career in the U.S. with the potential to contribute $646 million annually to the U.S. economy.
“Upwardly Global is pleased to endorse the Afghan Adjustment Act and urges Congress to pass the legislation,” said Jina Krause-Vilmar Upwardly Global CEO and President. “The Afghan Adjustment Act is a chance to honor our commitment to our Afghan allies and ensure they and their families can remain safely in the U.S. Upwardly Global has been supporting thousands of Afghan professionals, and we know that their experience and skills can help us address “unprecedented” labor shortages across key industries.”
The legislation would, among other things, open career opportunities for Afghans by lessening the burden on the special immigrant visa (SIV) and asylum processes, whose backlogs and pending applications put over 1.4 million Afghans, a portion of which are already employed in the U.S., at risk of losing their jobs or deportation if there is a lapse in their immigration status. Newly released data from Upwardly Global shows that Afghan professionals have the potential to contribute $646 million per year to the U.S. economy if adequate career pathways are available, underscoring the need for the AAA to pass.
An estimated 90,000 Afghan refugee newcomers (including 5,000 U.S. citizens) have been welcomed into the U.S. since the rollout of Operations Allies Welcome, a relief effort launched under the Biden administration to help Afghans displaced since the fall of Kabul to the Taliban. This effort has humanitarian roots; in parallel, it promises to be a significant boon to the U.S. economy at a time of critical workforce need.
Upwardly Global, the first and longest-serving organization dedicated to advancing the inclusion of immigrant and refugee professionals into the workforce in the U.S., has long been committed to this effort in support of Afghan refugees, having built out a new program incorporating our experience serving several hundred Iraqi and Afghan Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) recipients over the past decade.