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Disabled Immigrants More Likely To Be Working

April 17 2010 - Research from the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children's Hospital published by the American Journal of Industrial Medicine found that immigrants with disabilities are more likely to be employed than a comparable group born in the USA. The study highlights the significant contribution made to society by all those with disabilities and points out that many continue to work. This trend is reflected in the growing immigrant population.

Approximately 13 per cent of the current U.S. population were born overseas. In 2007 there were about 24 million adults of working age with disabilities of whom about 35 per cent were employed. The study found that regardless of the type of disability (sensory, physical, mental or emotional) both foreign-born citizens and non-citizens with disabilities were more likely than their U.S.-born counterparts to be employed.

Lead author Huiyun Xiang explained:

"The employment decisions of immigrants with disabilities may be impacted by eligibility for public assistance, whereas U.S.-born people with disabilities have greater access to public assistance and may depend less on salary income. Also, eligibility for foreign-born people is complicated by length of residency, citizenship, refugee status, work history and other factors."

The study found that foreign-born people with disabilities were most frequently employed in production and cleaning/maintenance, compared to sales and office/administrative support in the case of those born in the USA. The latter group consequently earned more: an average of US$22 000 compared to US$ 20 000.

Huiyun Xiang commented:

"People with disabilities often face a variety of barriers to employment, including limited access to public transportation, limited mobility in and around the workplace and societal prejudice or discrimination. However, English language proficiency is likely an additional barrier for immigrants with disabilities and may affect the occupational options available to them."

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