IMPRINT: Immigrant Professional Integration

IMPRINT Statement on WE Global Network Joint Day of Action

Events like WE Global Network’s Day of Action on the H1B visa point up the need for solutions to the skills gap that U.S. companies are facing, particularly in filling high-demand healthcare and STEM positions. However, in looking for a solution to bridge this gap, employers may not be aware that highly-skilled, immigrants, asylees, and refugees already living here in our communities represent a generally overlooked pipeline of talent that can also help fill many of these roles.

Newcomers are most educated in U.S. history–41% of immigrants who have arrived in the past five years have at least a bachelor’s degree, compared with about 30 percent of the U.S.-born population. Yet 26% of foreign-educated immigrants are either unemployed or underemployed, a group that includes engineers, physicians, and IT professionals. While many of these individuals have a proven track record of success in their home countries, they need support in validating their credentials, rebuilding their professional networks, overcoming licensing barriers, and navigating the cultural norms of the U.S. job search in order to re-enter their careers.

Over the next 20 years, immigrants and the children of immigrants will make up 85 percent of growth in the U.S. workforce. By taking steps to recruit and incorporate foreign-trained professionals who are already living here, employers can help fill their current needs while preparing for the workforce of the future. IMPRINT’s members join with WE Global Networks in working to close the skills gap, and to create a country where new Americans are able to contribute to their full potential.

We put forward the following recommendations aimed at better leveraging this existing talent pool:

  • Immigrants who come to the U.S. as a result of family reunification, green-card lottery, or as refugees and asylum-seekers should be provided accurate and up-to-date information regarding re-licensure pathways, career options, and other resources as soon as practical, (when possible, even before their arrival) so that they can better prepare for the challenging process of professional integration in the U.S.
  • Companies should take concrete steps to familiarize themselves with international credentials, provide cross-cultural mentoring to employees, and start indicating explicitly in job postings that they are open to candidates with foreign degrees to better incorporate the newly arrived
  • Workforce policies, programs and funding at the state and national levels should address the specific needs and challenges of the foreign-educated that have been shown to improve the success of the foreign-educated
  • Licensing bodies should provide clear information, policies to enable foreign-trained professionals to understand the paths to licensing, and funders should consider providing and financial resources to help them address the high costs associated with professional licensing

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