Mithras Law Group Immigration Blog

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Shortage of Trained Nurses and the Nursing Relief Act of 2009

with 3 comments

Although there is a recognized shortage of professional nurses in the Untied States, this month’s U.S. Department of State’s Visa Bulletin lists that as of April 1, 2009,  waiting times for green card processing for nurses and other immigrants in the EB-3 category will increase from 4 years to at least six years, this includes nurses that are educated at U.S Nursing Schools.

This is doubtlessly difficult news for the healthcare industry that faces a critical shortage of approximately 126,000 nurses at present and is estimated to grow to half a million nurses by 2016, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

President Obama at a recent White House meeting on healthcare reforms opposed the idea of inviting overseas nurse to fill up the huge shortfall and instead argued that the best possible approach to meet this shortfall is to train people inside the country.

In early March, however,  legislation, called the “Nursing Relief Act of 2009” was introduced in the U.S. Congress, which, if passed, would create a special category of nursing visas, which would facilitate much faster and easier brining of registered nurses with an annual visa limit of 50,000.

To read the bill see here.

Written by MithrasLaw

March 19, 2009 at 4:48 pm

3 Responses

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  1. Interesting, how these projections of the nursing shortage never change. But while there may be a shortage on paper, right now, thousands of nurses are unable to find jobs. This is especially true for new grads, and while it tends to be regional, the trend is spreading.

    Many hospitals have hiring freezes, are laying off staff, or going out of business. Others do not want to train new grads. Nurses who would have fled the profession or job are now staying, maybe because a spouse in out of work or for benefits, or whatever. Retirement is delayed, more people working full time, etc.

    Also, many facilities are also taking advantage of the situation by keeping staffing tight and saying that they “can’t afford” to hire more nurses. Or that they “can’t find” any nurses.

    Sorry, but the last thing we need now are foreign imports. Plus, a huge factor in this nursing shortage and others of the past is that the working environment is dismal, nurses are poorly treated, and supplying hospitals with foreign staff willing to put up with that gives facilities no reason or motivation to change. The problem in the US is simple: we do not have a shortage of nurses, but a shortage of tolerable places to work. And when the economy picks up it will be business as usual. Hospitals will be screaming shortage, but at the same time, not doing anything to improve working conditions, staffing, enviroment, etc.

    Roxanne Nelson

    March 20, 2009 at 11:32 pm

  2. It does appear to be regional in nature. WBUR in Boston reports that nursing jobs are drying up.

    On the other hand, Michigan is spending $5m to fight nursing shortage. Another interesting story on this can be found here.

    The bottom line is that nursing shortage is real…perhaps working conditions, staffing, and environment is contributing to it, but at the same time perhaps we here in the US take too much for granted. It is going to be an unavoidable side-effect of globalization…if the same level of service can be provided cheaply, business will go for it. Protectionism is not the solution here.

    Rory Brebner

    March 23, 2009 at 2:28 pm

  3. It is obvious now that there is nursing shortage in US.Mr. Obama,s policies in healthcare reforms is not to recruit foreign nurses and train the native population. His ideas must be for betterment but the main argument here is whether US citizens are ready to undergo this training if yes do they have that dedication to lookafter ailing mankind.If yes, that will again take 04 years for getting passing out nurses to become eligible to practice nursing.Till that time is he ready ti see the healthcare system crashing?I think he should seriously plan his stratgy instead giving blanket decision NO HIRING OF INTERNATIONAL STAFF

    santosh kumari

    July 10, 2009 at 10:00 am

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