Congress Must Pass the Afghan Adjustment Act

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Legislation to support Afghan allies to be reintroduced in the House and Senate

NEW YORK – Upwardly Global, a leading workforce development organization supporting professional immigrants and refugees, reaffirms its support for the Afghan Adjustment Act, a critical, bipartisan bill that would help expedite pathways to permanent legal status for Afghan newcomers, expand eligibility requirements for the Special Immigrant Visa program, and create a new interagency task force to help relocate at-risk allies left behind in Afghanistan. The proposed legislation was introduced in both the Senate (S.4787) and House of Representatives (H.R. 8685) in August 2021 and will ideally be included in the omnibus package Congress is considering before the end of the year.

“Upwardly Global is working with thousands of Afghans to help them contribute needed skills to our workforce and society,” said Jina Krause-Vilmar, CEO and president of Upwardly Global. “The Afghan Adjustment Act represents a critical and very timely opportunity to advance these goals. We want Congress to understand the stakes, and the U.S. to honor its commitment to our Afghan allies, ensure their safety in the U.S., and to harness their contributions to the economy and labor market.”

An estimated 80,000 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 that were 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 has been striving to elevate success stories of Afghan newcomers who have secured professional employment and to highlight the professional experience and projected economic contributions of this group. Recent data from Upwardly Global shows that Afghan professionals alone 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 proposed legislation to pass. Many Afghan newcomers bring tremendous expertise and skills in high-demand industries like information technology; finance; healthcare; and business, logistics, and operations.

A majority of Afghan newcomers have secured employment in the U.S. and are at risk of losing their work authorization if there is a lapse in their immigration status. Among other things, the Afghan Adjustment Act would help lessen the burden on the U.S. immigration system and streamline a pathway to citizenship.

Through its individual career coaching program, Upwardly Global has been working with nearly 1,500 of these Afghan newcomers to rebuild their professional careers and find skill-aligned work in the U.S. The organization also launched a free, self-paced digital portal with a curated suite of job readiness resources. To date, the portal has over 8,000 user sessions (exceeding the original goal of 5,000). 

 For more information about Upwardly Global’s Afghan response efforts, please contact rfishman@upwardlyglobal.org or visit our website

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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.

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