The AHA today expressed its opposition to an amendment included in the Department of Homeland Security’s appropriations bill in the House Appropriations Committee that would eliminate the per-country cap for immigrant visas, saying it would “impact nurse immigration from many countries, and adversely affect the ability of America’s hospitals and health systems to provide care in communities across the country.”

 

Currently, there is a greater demand for new nurses than there are students graduating from nursing programs in the U.S., and hospitals and health systems partially rely on immigrant nurses from a number of countries. These nurses are required to meet rigid standards of equivalent education, English fluency and state licensure, and must have clean disciplinary records.

 

“Foreign-trained nurses do not displace American workers; in fact, the demand for nurses continues to grow,” AHA said. “Foreign-trained nurses are recruited primarily to rural and urban hospitals, communities that find it difficult to recruit nurses domestically.”

 

AHA said the amendment sponsored by Rep. Kevin Yoder, R-Kan., would have a crippling effect on hospitals and health systems because the number of foreign-trained nurses entering the U.S. each year to fill critical nursing jobs would be reduced by 77 to 100 percent over the next five years and beyond.

 

“We urge you to remove the Yoder amendment from the DHS appropriations bill and protect the ability of foreign-trained nurses to provide care to patients throughout the country, especially in rural and urban communities,” AHA wrote.