Even today, nearly three years into the pandemic, hospitals in every corner of the country are closing beds or whole units because they lack the nurses needed to staff them. Pregnant mothers in labor, heart attack victims, and dialysis patients have all suffered from this nursing shortage.
The staffing situation in American hospitals is dire. But we don’t need to reinvent the wheel to bridge this shortage—train more domestic nurses and make it easier for international nurses to emigrate.
For more than 70 years, foreign health care professionals have provided world-class treatments to US patients. Yet the immigration process for healthcare workers, unlike technology workers or other skilled labor, is long and complicated, prompting many international nurses to settle for Canada, the United Kingdom, or the Middle East.
The AAIHR has proposed legislation that would immediately add thousands of nurses to the US workforce while simultaneously growing the domestic educational capacity for future workforce development.
The H1-D Act would accomplish two essential goals:
Under the H1-D visa:
The H1-D Act does not expand the number of green cards. It merely allows the nurses and allied healthcare workers to come to America and wait out the green card backlog, if they are working and serving US patients. The H1-D Act does not add visas to the overall quota, nor does it take visas away from other categories.
The H1-D Act will not take jobs away from qualified Americans. In fact, it creates a pathway of thousands of new nursing students to enter the practice and provides protections that the wages and working conditions of US workers similarly employed will not be adversely affected.