Report says immigrants could help with health care worker shortage

DES MOINES — A new report by the American Immigration Council has found immigrants could help fill the growing number of vacant health care positions in Iowa.

Steven Hubbard is a senior data analyst with the non-profit. He says states like Iowa can look at their policies to see if there are ways to make them more friendly to immigrants with health care training. “Are there laws or regulations that don’t allow for international students or, you know, people who have a degree in the field and have the qualifications, but just don’t have the citizenship requirements met?,” he says.

The report says more than 15 percent of immigrants in Iowa with professional or doctoral degrees work in health care professions that do not require their degree. )”They’re not working in their capacity, where they could be in a position, you know, as a doctor, or in another area, where they’re where they have the expertise, but they’re not working in that area,” Hubbard says.

The report found health care worker job postings in Iowa increased seven-point-five percent from 2017 to 2021.