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CIS Ombudsman Makes Recommendations to Help Visa Problems for Nurses

Dec 15, 2008

The nursing shortage in the United States is becoming increasingly problematic and may adversely affect the health care industry. According to a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) 2007 study, the United States will require 1.2 million new Registered Nurses (RNs) by 2014 to meet the nursing demand. Congress has passed legislation that recognizes the labor shortage for nurses. The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has taken steps to address the shortage by designating RNs as a Schedule A occupation. Schedule A precertification is a determination that there are insufficient U.S. nurses who are able, willing, qualified, and available, and that the wages and working conditions of U.S. workers similarly employed will not be adversely affected by the employment of foreign nationals. Despite these items being in place, hospitals are unable to employ foreign nurses due to long processing times and unavailability of immigrant visa numbers. In meetings with nursing organizations and stakeholders, the Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS) Ombudsman heard concerns about the time it takes for a foreign nurse to be admitted to the United States to work. Visa availability continues to be the principal obstacle for many immigrants and non-immigrants seeking employment in the United States, and the number of visas available can only be addressed through legislation. The following is a recommendation by the Ombudsman to the USCIS to streamline processes for nurses and to alleviate the backlog. Recommendations_for_Nurses.pdf

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