Skilled Immigrants Change the Economy, Not Just Healthcare

AAIHR members’ clients routinely note the exceptional work ethic and outstanding patient care that international nurses and physical therapists – all of them immigrants to the U.S. – provide. A recent Bloomberg editorial explains the impact of such workers, skilled immigrants in their terms, to the U.S. economy as a whole.

The editorial notes that the current administration’s talk of curbing immigration dampens interest in immigrating to the United States. Many would-be skilled immigrants to the United States have gone to Canada instead, a country that welcomes such workers. In AAIHR’s experience, U.S. hospital leadership and American patients express strong satisfaction with nurses who are skilled immigrants as a part of their care teams. They help U.S. healthcare organizations provide better care and patient outcomes.

The editorial emphasizes that such positive experience with immigrant workers is not limited to healthcare. Skilled immigrants across the economy start businesses, and Bloomberg points out that “40 percent of Fortune 500 companies were started by immigrants or their children.” Skilled immigrants also receive a disproportionate amount of patents, exhibiting great inventiveness that creates wealth.

Historically, immigrants have made enormous contributions to U.S. healthcare, winning a Nobel Prize for discovering how glucose metabolizes sugar, and a Nobel Prize for linking a virus to cervical cancer. LASIK eye surgery, the implantable cardioverter defibrillator, and Prozac were all developed by immigrants.

AAIHR member organizations take great pride in providing the U.S. healthcare system with badly needed registered nurses and occupational therapists from around the world, skilled immigrants that improve patient care and contribute to the overall competitiveness of the US economy. For that reason, we support legislation such as The Emergency Nursing Relief Act (HR3351) that seeks to ensure that these vital skilled immigrants continue to find homes at hospitals and other healthcare facilities in the United States.

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