Demand for International Nurses Continues to Grow in the U.S.

In a recent article from ABC News, Laura Romero reports on the grim realities of hospital staffing shortages across the nation and explains how COVID-19 has simply highlighted our dire need for foreign-trained healthcare professionals in the U.S.

"One-sixth of our health care workforce is foreign-born," said Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin in a statement provided to ABC News. "Immigrant nurses and doctors play a vital role in our healthcare system, and their contributions are now more crucial than ever."

Durbin, along with Senators David Perdue, Todd Young, and Chris Coons, introduced the Healthcare Workforce Resilience Act in May that would recapture and reallocate 25,000 unused immigrant visas for nurses and 15,000 for doctors, and instruct the State Department and Department of Homeland Security to expedite processing.Under the bill, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) would also recapture immigrant visas for the families of these medical professionals. These recaptured visas would be drawn from the pool of unused employment-based visas that Congress has previously authorized. These visas would be issued in order of priority date and would not be subject to the country caps. To facilitate timely action, premium processing would be applied to qualifying petitions and applications.

"There has never been a more urgent need for the care that foreign-born physicians and foreign-trained nurses provide than during the current COVID-19 pandemic," The American Hospital Association and the American Organization for Nursing Leadership said in a statement. "A targeted allocation of recaptured visas to these healthcare professionals will have a tremendous impact on the ability to care for patients with COVID-19 and it will have a lasting impact on the overall health of our communities."

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December 22, 2020
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