​​AHCA/NCAL has been working on partnerships with national and local refugee organizations. We participated in a virtual roundtable with CEOs from major American companies to discuss Operation Allies Welcome, an effort by the White House to support Afghan refugees as they resettle in the U.S. We are working to partner with prominent refugee organizations on LTC careers available. We have two potential pilots with refugee organizations in California and Iowa being actively worked on -- with more partnerships possible in the future. We want to welcome our new neighbors to work in our centers and create a great career path. It is also important to note here that the Temporary Nurse Aide program and opportunity is an important source of support for these refugees.

In addition, we have been focused on immigration policies and solutions. Last year, AHCA/NCAL led a LTC coalition letter to the State Department focused on the workforce crisis, and offered solutions to the Department to help address the crisis. We have heard from providers the immigrant visa processing is incredibly backlogged due to COVID-19 and reduced staffing at U.S. embassies and consulates, and many of the health care professionals with offers from U.S. LTC facilities with approved immigrant petitions have been waiting for many months, in some cases more than a year, for a visa interview appointment.  

AHCA/NCAL also recently sent a Coalition letter to the Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) on workforce supply related issues. In the letter, the Coalition noted that the U.S. currently has a labor shortage in many sectors, not the least of which is the health care industry. One issue is the significant delay in USCIS processing Employment Authorization Document (EAD) renewals. Some employees have had to stop working due to USCIS not timely processing the EAD renewals, while others are at risk of soon losing work authorization due to the delays. 

On December 28th, USCIS came out with an announcement noting that “Effective immediately, if you are a healthcare worker who has a pending Employment Authorization Document (EAD) renewal application (Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization) and your EAD expires in 30 days or less or has already expired, you can request expedited processing of your EAD application." USCIS referenced a DHS advisory memorandum (“Healthcare / Public Health" section, pages 7-9) which lists critical healthcare occupations. The USCIS noted that an applicant will need to be prepared to provide evidence of profession or current employment as a healthcare worker to request the expedited processing. A request to expedite can be made by the applicant or his/her attorney by calling USCIS Contact Center at 800-375-5283 (TTY 800-767-1833).

AHCA/NCAL was quoted in a recent U.S. News and World Report article on our immigration related coalition efforts. 

Please contact AHCA's Senior Director of Not for Profit and Constituent Services at dritchie@ahca.org if you have any questions, ideas or stories to share around workforce matters.​​