Looking at the huge shortage of the nurses in the United States today, this has gone upto 117,000 for the case of unfilled vacancies for registered and qualified nurses, at different hospitals and nursing homes across the United States.
As a resolution to the above mentioned problem on the 11th of Feb in 2009. A new act was introduced in the house known as the Nurse Relief Act HR 1001. The crux of this new Act is that a new category of visas, the W – Visa category would be introduced which would only be for the nurses from all over the world to come over to the United States. The annual capping for this new visa category would be currently at 50000.
The nurses and the physiotherapists fall in Schedule A, They get preference under the third preference employment immigrant category and thus do not need the labor certification. But currently the visas under the said category for the nurses and the physiotherapists are not available at all and one would be required to wait till October to see the scope coming out of this category.
Again the H-3 temporary non immigrant level visa would allow nurses to enter the United States for the purpose of acquiring training in the said skill and would be expected to leave post the completion of the training.
Similarly, nurses could opt for the J-1 exchange visitor program and enter the United States in the capacity of an exchange visitor training and then leave post the completion of the training. In this visa category they would not allowed to work. But rather this is also a training visa. However the nurses coming under the said J-1 visa category would be eligible to get minimum wage rate, as applicable, under the provisions of the visa category.
The primary reasons for introducing the new W- Visa are:
- As per the labor department in the United States the shortage of qualified nurses stand at a staggering 120,000. There was an urgent need to address this concern.
- The states in the West and the Southwest United States have a higher growth rate than the rest of the country.
- Other countries in the world like India, China and the Philippines have a higher number of nurses that they do not hire as well. Such surplus human resource could be better used in a country like the United States where the demand is higher than the supply.