03 March 2009

Nurses may get smoother visa route to the U.S.

In an attempt to plug the growing shortage of nurses in America, the Government is considering the introduction of a bill to allow for a special category for registered nurses.

According to the Times of India, the non-immigrant category of visa for registered nurses would speed up the processing of American visas for nurses, allowing them to move to America more seamlessly.

China, the Philippines and India show strong interest in supplying the nursing industry with workers, and it is hoped that changes to the visa system would allow for greater movement of people under this category.

The Nursing Relief Act of 2009 would have an annual quota of 50,000 nurses, if passed through legislation.  According to statistics quoted by the newspaper, the number of nursing positions far outweighs the number of qualified and studying nurses already living in the UK and therefore the need to relax immigration laws for nurses seems the way forward. 

Already, the US government spends hundreds of millions of dollars recruiting overseas nurses from countries such as the Philippines, China and India because of their over-supply of nurses.

"Current law, with certain limited exceptions, requires health care providers to sponsor desired nurses for permanent resident status while the nurses remain outside of the United States, which can take as much as three years," the Act said.

"Health care providers cannot efficiently and effectively recruit qualified foreign nurses through the existing immigration process.  Our health care system requires an immediate modification of Federal laws relating to recruitment of qualified foreign nurses in order to operate at an efficient and effective level," the legislation says.

The American Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in American visa and immigration services.

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