Is It Possible For A Foreign Nurse Work In The United States?

For years, there had been apparent shortage of nurses in the United States. Years ago, nurses would come to the United States on an H-1B visa. However, that stopped when the Immigration Service concluded that the bachelor's degree was not an absolute requirement in order to be a registered nurse.

It think it is trying to say that notwithstanding the numerous ads and postings on the internet, working in the United States as a nurse, there are four ways that nurses may work in the United States on a temporary visa:

  • Be hired by a facility which qualifies under the H-1C category. – There are very few such facilities in the United States, they account for a very small number of jobs, and a person will be extremely lucky if he/she is accepted for employment at one of these facilities.
  • You are from Canada or Mexico. – Nurses from these two countries that entered the United States to work on a TN visa.
  • The position normally requires a bachelor's degree. – USCIS normally considers advanced practice nursing occupations that require a bachelor's degree and, therefore, qualify for an H-1 classification. These positions may require advanced practice certifications. Such positions as Clinical Nurse Specialist, Nurse Practitioners, Certified Nurse Anesthetists, and Certified Nurse Midwives will usually qualify. In addition, the managers or administrators may also qualify. However, most foreign nationals looking for nursing positions in the United States neither qualify for nor apply for these positions.

Can a nurse immigrate to the United States? As mentioned earlier, there tends to be a shortage of nurses in the United States. Therefore, the immigration process, through employment, has been simplified. The Department of Labor has put "registered nurses" on a special list of occupations where there is a known shortage. Because of this, virtually any health facility that wants this can file a visa petition for a nurse, knowing that it would be approved, but mostly not! Why? The reason that few of these hospitals or other healthcare facilities are willing to file the papers is due to the fact that the process for a nurse to immigrate will take five or more years. Few hospitals will file petitions now for a person who will not be able to come to the United States and work for them for five years. There is no guarantee that the nurse will be available in five years and since the process is costly and time consuming, most employers do not want to go through it.

This is a rather blunt but frank assessment. While there are still some doors that are open, and there are still possibilities for nurses to work in the United States or immigrate to the United States, in most cases, it is highly unlikely.