Amid Shortage of Nurses, US Hospitals Seek Foreign Nurses to Fill Gaps Caused by the Pandemic

Amid Shortage of Nurses, US Hospitals Seek Foreign Nurses to Fill Gaps Caused by the Pandemic

  • The United States have ramped up its visa approvals for nurses seeking to move to the country as the pandemic bites harder
  • The country said immediate approvals will be issued to nurses from a pool of visas which were not given to relatives of those already living in the US
  • Many nurses in US Hospitals have left or retired as the pandemic surges, leading many hospitals to bring in more nurses from Jamaica and the Philippines

American hospitals are in dire shortage of nurses in the midst of a pandemic that has refused to abate and many are looking abroad for healthcare workers.

There is a high number of green cards available this year for foreign workers including nurses who want to move to the United States, double the number as many years ago.

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US announces visa windfall for nurses
US announces visa windfall for nurses Credit: The Good Brigade
Source: Getty Images

Visa windfall in American embassies

The reason is that US consulates which were closed down during the pandemic were not issuing visas to relatives of American citizens and, according to the law, these slots were not used now get transferred to workers which are eligible.

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According to Amy L. Erlbacher, an immigration attorney in Omaha, Nebraska, she has seen more demand for foreign nurses in two years than the rest of her career for 18 years.

And in 2022, more nurses will get approved to come, she said, as long as US embassy offices can process all the applications.

Erlbacher said the US have double the number of visas it had available for many years. That is kind of temporarily creating a very open situation, she said.

Hospitals in the US are having shortage of nurses and are struggling because of the worsened pandemic which has led many nurses to retire or leave their jobs due to burnout.

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Why so many nurses are wanted in the US

Coronavirus incidents continue to rise and fall which places enormous pressure on the healthcare system in the US.

Many hospitals are making do by hiring travelling nurses, but they can be very expensive.

According to hospital administrators, not enough nurses are graduating from US schools every year to meet the growing demand.

Some hospitals have gone as far as bringing nurses from the Philipines, Jamaica, and other English-speaking countries.

And both longtime recruiters and newcomers are trying to take advantage of the green card windfall before the fiscal year ends in September.

Thousands of green cards waiting in embasssies

The US offers at least 140,000 green cards every year to people going to the country permanently for certain professional jobs, including nurses.

Most of the green cards are given to people who are already living in the US on temporary visas.

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Sources say about 280,000 of these green cards are available and recruiters hope some of the extras can be taken up by nurses seeking to work in pandemic-hit hospitals in the US.

Nigerians storm UK visa offices after Legit story

Recall that has reported that two days after published a story that the United Kingdom has resumed Priority Visa issuance to Nigerians, the UK visa office is overflowing with Nigerians seeking to obtain visas.

Nigerians began to throng the UK visa office after it was announced that Nigeria has been removed from the UK red list following the drop in the spread of Omicron variant of COVID-19.

A crowd of applicants was seen milling outside the visa office in Lekki Phase I offices of TLSContact. Long queues were seen as people waited to be called in for the application.


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