Trio of Bills Would Reduce Healthcare Employment Barriers for Immigrants

Legislation | June 10, 2022 | by Linda Couch

On June 9, Representatives Adam Smith (D-WA) and Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA) introduced three bills to help alleviate health care workforce shortages across the country and reduce employment barriers for immigrants who want to work in the health care field.

On June 9, Representatives Adam Smith (D-WA) and Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA) introduced three bills to help alleviate health care workforce shortages across the country and reduce employment barriers for immigrants who want to work in the health care field.

The Immigrants in Nursing and Allied Health Act, HR 8021, would help immigrants, regardless of whether they have any previous health care experience, get the financial support they need to enter nursing and allied health careers including nursing, mental and behavioral health, and other health care professions. The costs of licensing, certification, training, and education make it extremely difficult for some immigrants to enter the field while also balancing paying bills and supporting their families. The bill would create grants for programs that provide training, licensing, certification, and case management for immigrants interested in entering the health care field; and open eligibility for the National Health Service Corp (NHSC) to non-U.S. citizen immigrants.

The International Medical Graduate Assistance Act, HR 8022, would help reduce barriers that international medical graduates face when trying to complete the necessary training and certification to receive a U.S. medical license. The bill would incentivize states to create temporary licensing programs for internationally educated immigrants with medical degrees to allow them to practice under supervision while they complete the necessary training and certification for a U.S. medical license; establish guaranteed medical residency slots for IMGs in the state program to practice in predominantly medically underserved communities; and providing grants to help cover the cost of exam preparation, testing, certification, ESL classes, and case management for IMGs in need of financial assistance.

The Professional’s Access to Health (PATH) Workforce Integration Act, HR 8019, 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.

“We must do everything we can to support health care workers, combat staffing shortages, and rebuild our health care system. One way we can do that is by reducing barriers to employment for immigrants looking to enter the health care field,” Representative Adam Smith said in a June 9 press release.