New Visa Process for Foreign Nurses Will Affect California More Than Other States, Hospital Officials Say
A change in rules affecting the handling of some visa applications could exacerbate the nursing shortage, particularly in California, according to hospital officials and immigration advocates, the Los Angeles Times reports. The policy, which took effect in January, will affect nurses from countries including the Philippines, from where most foreign nurses in the United States come.
Under the new rule, foreign nurses seeking employment in the United States will be required to wait more than three years to receive permanent residency. In the past, nurses who were sponsored by a U.S. hospital and received visa approval could establish permanent residency in 18 to 24 months.
The American Hospital Association has asked legislators to modify the new visa process for foreign nurses, saying that the current nursing shortage is affecting patient care and contributing to emergency department overcrowding and increased waiting periods for surgery.
Claudia Rosenfeld, vice president of human resources for the Hospital Association of Southern California, said, "Every avenue of adding nurses to the work force that is cut off from California will make the shortage more acute," adding, "And of all the states, California will be the most adversely impacted because we absorb the majority of these nurses."
One-third of foreign-registered nurses seeking work in the United States pursue jobs in California, Rosenfeld said (Simmons, Los Angeles Times, 3/9).