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Healthcare Industry Expresses Concerns Over Trump Travel Ban, Cites Shortage of Healthcare Professionals

pulse-trace-163708_640-300x169The Supreme Court’s decision to uphold President Trump’s immigration/travel ban in Trump v. Hawaii will have a substantial impact on the industries that depend on employing immigrant workers from countries affected by the ban, namely: Iran, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Syria, Venezuela, and Yemen.

The healthcare industry is expected to take a specifically strong blow as the United States is already facing a critical shortage of healthcare professionals including nurses, doctors, and home health aides, ban notwithstanding. According to the Migration Policy Institute, immigrants comprise at least 30 percent of all physicians and surgeons in the country, with Syria and Iran among the top 10 countries supplying these professionals.

Over 30 organizations, including the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), wrote a joint statement to the Supreme Court in an amicus brief during the Trump v. Hawaii proceedings, pointing out that “international health professionals provide essential care in teaching hospitals and their communities, particularly for rural and underserved populations.”

They add that denying these foreign nationals entry into the country would compromise the health security of the nation.

A number of specialties are especially dependent on foreign doctors.

  • Immigrants comprise 50 percent of geriatric medicine specialists
  • 50 percent of nephrologists
  • 40 percent of internal medicine specialists
  • 30 percent of the country’s psychiatrists

Unfortunately, according to a mutual understanding in the industry, these fields are also disproportionately unappealing to U.S.-born medical students due to their being less financially lucrative compared to other fields. This is especially true for jobs outside urban centers.

There are waiver provisions in the Trump policy that would allow qualified foreign nationals to bypass the ban and apply for jobs in the U.S. However, these are difficult to acquire and are not issued on a regular basis. The travel ban has also already sown doubt and suspicion among now-hesitant foreign nationals, leading them to question whether they will be able to freely travel upon entering the U.S. and if their families will be permitted to follow.

For the same reasons, medical institutions are likewise hesitant to offer positions to immigrants who do manage to make it to the U.S. Medical employers are primarily concerned by the possibility of matching foreign medical students with receiving institutions only to later learn that certain students cannot enter the country to work in their programs.

Many, however, remain hopeful that the administration may retract the ban or, at least, remove countries that the health care industry is dependent on.

For more immigration news and updates on the travel ban, be sure to follow this blog. If you, or a loved one, are affected by this latest ruling and want to know what your options are, schedule a consultation with the legal team of the Lyttle Law Firm. Call our offices today to learn more about how Austin immigration attorney Daniella Lyttle can help you.