Ten years ago, international nurses who qualified to work in the U.S. had to wait about one to two years to obtain a green card, which is a big contrast to the stories of foreign-educated nurses arriving today. Now the majority of international RNs hired in the U.S. have been on a waiting list for five to eight years as a result of retrogression —a backlog of green card applications created because the federal government lowered the cap on the number of visas granted each year. Between 3,500 and 5,000 nurses receive visas each year, compared to more than 20,000 before retrogression was instituted by the federal government in 2006, said Frank Shaffer, EdD, RN, FAAN, CEO of the Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools. The commission is an internationally recognized authority on education, registration and licensure of nurses worldwide.

As a result of the long waiting periods, many hospitals have stopped sponsoring nurses. “”We are not doing any new sponsorships because the process of getting a visa became so onerous”,” said Terry Bennett, MS, BSN, RN, director of nurse recruitment at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center in Baltimore, Md. “”Also, when the recession hit in the mid-2000s, everyone’s financial bottom line was lower and we were less inclined to hire international nurses”.”

Although this reality may seem discouraging to registered nurses abroad who would like to work in the U.S., nurses who are familiar with the process of becoming eligible to work here are cautiously optimistic about the future of hiring for foreign workers.

If you’re a nurse interested in working with Sentosa Nursing Recruitment in the United States, contact us