The Role of Immigrants In Elder Care

Immigrants In Elder Care

As the US elderly population grows, health care workforce shortages are expected to increase in the coming decades. The Institute of Medicine projects that 3.5 million additional health care workers will be needed by 2030, and the U.S. Census Bureau projects that by 2034, people aged 65 and older will outnumber those aged 18 years and younger for the first time in U.S. History.

Therefore, the United States needs more nurses and elder care workers to provide assistance to our aging population.

Louisiana’s Worker Shortages in Elder Care and Immigrants Impact

The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the shortage of nurses and other medical professionals throughout the United States and in Louisiana, and the number of U.S.-born workers who are willing to work in this industry is drastically dwindling. In fact, as the pandemic winds down and people are returning to work, many former elder care workers have taken jobs in retail sales, customer service, warehouses, hospitality, and even cleaning services because they pay better, are less dangerous, and have better opportunities for advancement.

The lack of workers available for elder care drives up the cost of elder care, leaves many with no paid support at all, and is even forcing some adult children to quit their jobs.

The situation is also putting more pressure on already-struggling long-term care facilities.

Yet, in light of the current and projected shortage of health care and direct care workers it suggests that policies curtailing immigration will likely compromise the availability of care for elderly and disabled Americans.

Visas and Immigration Options

Although there is no doubt that immigration reform is desperately needed for home healthcare workers and the path is not always clear and can be difficult, there are immigration options for foreign nationals who want to live in the United States and work as home healthcare workers or in the elder care industry.

  • On October 20, 2022, USCIS provided updated guidance on expedited work authorization (EAD) procedures for qualifying healthcare and childcare workers.
  • The “Schedule A” designation for nurses allows the petitioner to bypass the recruitment process normally required for a labor certification, allowing for an expedited path toward lawful permanent residence (a Green Card).
  • The H2B visa is for seasonal, intermittent, or one-time work.

If you are interested in working in elder care in the United States, or if you are interested in learning more about your immigration options in general, contact the Scott Law Firm today!