March 8, 2023

Creatively leveraging existing immigration law key to meeting workforce needs: expert

McKnights Senior Living

WASHINGTON, DC—Efforts to use immigration reform to address workforce shortages are nothing new, but senior living providers and advocates might want to consider some creative solutions by leveraging existing immigration laws.

That’s according to Carl Risch, a partner with Mayer Brown LLP in Washington, DC, who on Monday during Argentum’s Public Policy Institute addressed a variety of options that operators can focus efforts on in immigration reform.

With an alphabet soup of visa categories tied around temporary workers, Risch said, lobbying Congress on a specific visa category for senior living will result in “too little, too late.” Although the tactic might result in a few thousand visas a year, it likely will come with complex requirements that are not particularly helpful for senior living providers, he said.

Instead, Risch recommends pressing lawmakers to expand existing pathways that could result in tens of thousands — if not hundreds of thousands — of people coming into the United States to mitigate workforce shortages.

“Existing immigration regulations do not provide a clear pathway for admitting prospective direct care workers as nonimmigrants, nor as immigrants,” said Risch, the country’s former assistant secretary of state for consular affairs.

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