How To Choose An International Healthcare Recruitment Agency In USA

Tips Foreign-Educated Nurses And Healthcare Professionals Should Consider

Do your homework.

If you want to live and work as a licensed healthcare professional in America, you’ll likely need to find an international staffing agency to assist you. Many reputable agencies with international recruitment programs exist, and they can be a great tool to utilize on your journey towards working as a healthcare professional in America.

Unfortunately, many international recruitment organizations prey on healthcare professionals eager to improve their careers in the USA. PassportUSA has seen enough examples of both to advise you on which international healthcare staffing agencies you can trust.

Questions Healthcare Professionals Should Ask When Choosing Recruitment Agencies

The following are considerations when choosing the right international healthcare staffing agency to fulfill your ambitions of working in the United States:

Does The International Recruitment Agency Have Upfront Charges For Services?

One of the most common questions is, “How much do your services cost?”

Foreign-educated nurses and healthcare professionals are used to being charged upfront and paying fees for these services, which is a shame because that’s not the reality when dealing with a reputable international recruitment agency. If you’re asked for upfront money from an agency or individual, you should not contract with them.

Has The Agency Received The Joint Commission Certified Gold Seal Of Approval?

When deciding on something as crucial as your international staffing agency, healthcare professionals should seek as much evidence as possible to ensure they’re dealing with a legitimate agency. The Joint Commission Certification is an important certification that all legitimate agencies should receive.

The Joint Commission is a U.S.-based nonprofit, tax-exempt 501 organization that accredits more than 20,000 national healthcare organizations and programs. When assessing your agency, look for the “Gold Seal of Approval.” The Gold Seal Of Approval™ honors agencies that fully comply with the Joint Commission’s national consensus-based quality standards, as well as those that demonstrate a commitment to excellence in providing healthcare staffing.

Typically, Joint Commission-certified agencies will have more career opportunities to offer international healthcare professionals like you. It is also relatively common that U.S. healthcare facilities will not contract with an agency or staffing provider that does not meet this standard.

Is The Agency Bound By The AAIHR Code Of Ethics?

The American Association of International Healthcare Recruitment (AAIHR) is a Delaware not-for-profit 501(c)(6) organization that is the voice of the international healthcare recruitment industry. Formed in 2006, the AAIHR represents the mutual interests of U.S.-based organizations that participate in the recruitment of foreign-educated healthcare professionals. Its goal is to promote legal, ethical, socially responsible, and professional practices for international healthcare recruitment.

Is The Agency Certified By An Ethical Recruitment Firm?

We encourage you to choose an agency certified by the Alliance for International Ethical Recruitment Practices (Alliance), as is Health Carousel International PassportUSA by Health Carousel. Both the Philippine Nurses Association of America, Inc. (PNAA) and the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) agree that Alliance Certification is a crucial indicator that an agency has fair, ethical, and transparent recruitment practices.

Does The Agency Assist With U.S. Relocation?

Relocation assistance goes a long way in separating reputable agencies from the bad ones. How committed is the agency to ensuring its health professionals succeed in the USA? Take PassportUSA, for example.

Once a candidate is employed with PassportUSA, the agency sends a representative to meet them when they arrive in their city before their first day on the job. Furthermore, the PassportUSA representatives help candidates who are employed with them with numerous additional tasks, such as short-term housing, guidance for long-term housing, setting up a bank account, getting a social security card, and even going to the grocery store.

Does The Agency Provide Quality Employee Benefits?

Before you sign a contract, ask what kind of benefits the agency offers. The following is a list of benefits you should expect from any reputable international staffing agency once employed by them:

  • Quality Health Insurance
  • Disability Insurance
  • Professional Liability Insurance

Better agencies may also offer:

  • Relocation Assistance
  • Platinum-Level Health Insurance
  • Dental, Life, And Disability Insurance
  • Paid Time Off (PTO)
  • Allowances For Continuing Education Courses
  • Housing And Relocation Allowances
  • 401(K) – With Employer Match (A well-known and reliable way Americans set aside money for retirement).

It is important to note that there are charges for some of the benefits (medical and dental insurance) as you elect to participate in them, as is customary in the U.S.

Does The Agency Have A Track Record Of Success?

It’s good to look into how long an agency has been in business. This question is critical to ask for two reasons:

  • An agency that has been in business for a long time is obviously a successful business and more trustworthy than, say, a company that’s just recently emerged.
  • Also, experience is important in international recruiting because you want to deal with an agency that can clear unexpected immigration hurdles like visa retrogression.

For example, PassportUSA has been in business for over 15 years and has endured numerous visa retrogression periods. The fact that they are still in business and placing international medical professionals in the U.S. is something to be very proud of.

But more importantly, it says to you that an agency like PassportUSA can handle a visa retrogression and still get you where you want to go. Hear real stories of PassportUSA nurses who experienced retrogression and made it to the U.S. through the program.

Are The Recruiters Accessible?

You’ll unlikely get anything but a positive response if you ask your agency, “How accessible are your recruiters?” But do they practice what they preach? If you find that your recruiter isn’t responsive to you, it might be time to consider other options. You need to be able to reach your recruiter.

They often have answers to questions and the vital information you need for your new life in America. They should be easy to reach and welcome your calls or e-mails. PassportUSA even has its recruiters take over their Instagram to let candidates ask questions.

Is The Compensation For Your Hard Work Fair?

Compensation is much different than pay. Don’t base your decision entirely on the hourly rate of pay. You should add all of these additional items into your compensation package that you are offered once employed with the agency: the value of your visa filing, relocation to the U.S., insurance and benefits package, stipends and reimbursements for expenses, retirement benefits, and your hourly wage.

Indeed, you must earn a respectable wage, but be aware that U.S. wages vary widely based on where in the country you will be working — as does the cost of living in that area.

For example, a registered nurse in New York should not compare pay rates with a registered nurse in Arkansas. The pay rates for their nursing jobs differ widely. Still, the registered nurse in Arkansas earning less may actually be enjoying a higher standard of living because her earnings go further because of less expensive housing and so on.

Does The Agency Assist With Visa Filings For Your Family Members?

One of the most significant benefits of a reputable agency is once they employ you, they will help you bring your family and dependents to the U.S. with you as well. We know how lonely and intimidating traveling to a new country for a new job can be – we see it daily. Ask your agency if and how they will get your family to the U.S. too. If they don’t provide help, know that there are better agencies within reach that will assist you.

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