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Will New Immigration Laws Prevent International Nurse Recruitment?

Written By The Shapiro Law Group on April 18, 2018

The recruitment and professional landscape of Internationally Educated Nurses (IENs) are likely to be affected by the new immigration policy that seeks to protect American jobs for native Americans. But this would mostly affect recruitment from countries under the travel ban. As the Trump administration stipulated, the aim of the new immigration laws was creating a lawful migration system, secure the American borders and cancel the visa lottery.This resulted in a travel ban imposed on six-mainly Muslim countries, including Libya, Syria, Sudan, Iraq, Somalia, and Yemen. The ban only exempts individuals with close familial relations in the U.S. Nurses from these countries are not allowed to enter the country, even through recruiting agencies.

Trump Administration Move to “Hire America First”

The America First policies are aimed at protecting American jobs and preserving them for U.S. born citizens. But this may not be the case in the healthcare sector. Foreign-born nurses in the U.S. represent an essential influx of talent that supplements the American domestic nurses, who are in too short supply. This shortage can be traced back to the increasing number of U.S-born students who opt to practice more lucrative specialties with little regard to the primary-care role.

Health care employers looking to hire nurses on H1-B and EB-3 visas must show that there is a shortage of U.S. workers for the position and that bringing in foreign nurses not have adverse effects on the working conditions and wages of U.S nurses. If these conditions are met and the applicants meet the set criteria, the new immigration laws looking to hire Americans first will not have an effect on the recruitment.

There is a high demand for nurses in the U.S. and it is only going to increase. Foreign-born nurses offer a solution to this demand and their recruitment is increasingly vital to meet the pressing needs of the aging baby boomers and local populations. Reports highlight that IENs constitute more than 15% of persons working in health care jobs and a shortage of 200,000 nurses is expected by 2020. Nurse immigration is critically important in filling gaps in the health care system and any disruptions in the flow of IENs coming to the country would risk a health crisis.