Legislation sponsored by State Senator Omar Aquino expanding licensing opportunities and procedures for internationally trained and licensed health care professionals was signed into law Friday.

“The demand for qualified health care professionals in our state will continue to grow in the coming years,” said Aquino (D-Chicago). “This law creates a licensing liaison to serve as a resource for international applicants and streamline the process so we can continue to grow our health care workforce.”

Under Aquino’s legislation, the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation will create an Office of the Ombudsman for International Applicants. This office will employ a full-time licensing liaison for international applicants to assist applicants in answering questions and providing information on education requirements for licenses.

During the 102nd General Assembly, Aquino supported a law creating the Task Force on Internationally-Licensed Health Care Professionals to explore strategies for removing barriers to licensure for international health care professionals. The Task Force identified the need to create a full-time position at IDFPR dedicated to helping applicants navigate the process of gaining licensure in Illinois.

“During the COVID-19 pandemic, international medical graduates worked on the front lines providing critical care to patients across our state,” Aquino said. “Creating a permanent office to help applicants navigate the process of re-establishing their licensure in Illinois is a small way to show our appreciation for their dedication to public health while also helping to combat the shortage of qualified medical professionals.”

House Bill 2948 was signed into law Friday and takes effect Jan. 1, 2024.