Bill Permits More Visas for Nurses
The House on Tuesday by voice vote approved a measure (HR 1285) that aims to increase medical services in regions with shortages of health care workers by allowing foreign nurses to obtain temporary work visas, CQ Today reports. The measure would allow up to 500 foreign nurses to come to the U.S. annually on nonimmigrant H1-C visas to work in areas with nursing shortages, according to CQ Today.
The bill -- co-sponsored by Reps. Bobby Rush (D-Ill.) and Henry Hyde (R-Ill.) -- revises elements of a 1999 law (PL 106-95) that authorizes the program for four years. The bill does not contain an expiration date and would be allowed to continue indefinitely, CQ Today reports.
A similar bill (S 1550) was introduced in the Senate in July 2005 by Sen. Richard Durbin (D- Ill.) and would allow the program to run through Sept. 30, 2008. Due to nursing shortages in the Chicago area, Illinois lawmakers have taken a "special interest" in the legislation, according to CQ Today (Schuler/Crowley, CQ Today, 6/20).