Promoting Economic Mobility for Immigrants and Refugees with International Credentials

Imprint Project
Date of Publication: 
October, 2020
Source Organization: 

The United States currently lacks a national immigrant and refugee integration strategy. Nearly 50 percent of recent immigrants hold a bachelor’s degree or higher. Yet, about two million internationally educated immigrants are either unemployed or underemployed, resulting in a loss of more than $10 billion in unrealized federal, state, and local taxes. Recognizing the essential skills and experience that internationally trained health professionals offer, governors in six states exercised their emergency authority to temporarily allow health care professionals licensed outside the U.S. to treat COVID-19 patients. The federal government should work with states to identify solutions that would create permanent pathways to licensure for these talented professionals.

Research from the Migration Policy Institute shows the following:

• An estimated 263,000 immigrants and refugees with health care training are unable to obtain licensure in the U.S., including 165,000 people who earned their credentials in another country.

• Approximately two million people, making up 25 percent of college-educated immigrants in the labor force, are underemployed or unemployed.

• Internationally educated immigrants experience a higher rate of underemployment (29 percent) than immigrants educated in the U.S. (21 percent).

• Underemployment among internationally trained immigrants and refugees results in the loss of approximately $39.4 billion in earnings and an additional $10.2 billion in taxes annually.

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Imprint Project (2020, October). Promoting Economic Mobility for Immigrants and Refugees with International Credentials. Imprint Project