Nursing Visas Shortage Continues Despite Lack of Nurses


The importance of foreign nurses in American hospitals cannot be overstated. They keep some medical facilities running. However, the supply of nurses from abroad is hampered by a nursing visas shortage.

A report on US News stated American hospitals have relied on foreign nurses for many years. In many hospitals, nurses from abroad help keep emergency rooms and inpatient facilities running.

As the country braces for a new wave of aging patients as the baby boomer generation becomes infirm along with a wave of retiring nurses, foreign nurses will be needed more than ever before.

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Nursing visas shortage hits hospitals

At present, foreign nurses comprise about 15 percent of registered nurses in the country, stated Immigrants in Healthcare, a report published in June 2016 by the Institute for Immigration Research at George Mason University and the Immigrant Learning Center.

The report stated more than half of the foreign nurses employed in the United States are in facilities in Texas, California, New York, New Jersey and Florida.

However, they perform a vital role in other parts of the country, in particular, some rural areas where it can be difficult to recruit healthcare professionals.

How the Nursing Visas Shortage Impacts Hospitals

While plenty of nurses from overseas want to work in the United States, the visa process can be very onerous.

Nurses can be hired on H-1B visas if the position is difficult to fill at a local level. However, RNs who apply for these visas must hold at least a bachelor’s degree to qualify.

They are also competing against tech workers in the annual H-1B visa lottery in which demand outstrips supply.

Alternatively, nurses can apply for an H-1C visa, taking advantage of a category of nonimmigrant visas created in 1999 at the time of an acute shortage of nurses.

The demand for registered nurses has changed over the years. At present, only 500 H-1C visas are granted annually. You can read about the requirements to qualify here on our website.

Not all medical facilities can accept registered nurses via the H-1C nursing program. To be eligible, the hospital must be in a health professional shortage area, contain 190 acute care beds or more, have a Medicare population of over 35 percent and a Medicaid population of 28 percent and over and be certified by the Department of Labor.

Employers face lots of paperwork and obstacles in bringing nurses from overseas, notwithstanding the shortages. An experienced Austin immigration attorney can make the process easier. Call us today at (512) 399-2311.

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