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September 13, 2007

Immigration and the Elderly: Foreign-Born Workers in Long-Term Care

Aging populations and the growing need to provide long-term care to the elderly are among the leading demographic, political, and social challenges facing industrialized countries, including the United States. As of 2004, 34.7 million people in this country had lived to their 65th birthday or beyond, accounting for about 12 percent of the U.S. population. By 2030, the number of older people in the United States is likely to double, reaching 72 million-or nearly one out of every five people. This aging of larger numbers of Americans will require significant increases in financial and human resources for healthcare support and other social services, resources which the United States is, even to meet today's needs, ill-equipped to provide from within its citizenry. As a result, immigrants have played and must continue to play a significant role in the growth of the U.S. labor force in general, and of the direct-care workforce in particular.

However, this may not be so easy to achieve. U.S. immigration law provides virtually no opportunities for foreign paraprofessionals to work in the United States on a temporary basis or to come here as permanent immigrants. Furthermore, there are no temporary visas designed for direct-care workers, and the number of immigrant visas available for all less-skilled workers is capped at only 5,000 per year.

Walter Leutz, an Associate Professor at the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University, examines this problem in detail in his study entitled Immigration and the Elderly: Foreign-Born Workers in Long-Term Care. The report, including its summary, was published by AILF's Immigration Policy Center; http://www.ailf.org/ipc/ipc_index.asp

Posted by VisaLawyer at September 13, 2007 06:46 PM


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