Sometime in the next few months, the US is going to revisit its ongoing discussion on immigration reform. The leading plan seems to be for Congress to address the issue via a Comprehensive Immigration Reform (CIR) package. CIR is expected to address many issues, including hot-button issues such as undocumented workers.
The big question is how Congress will remedy its immigration policy for healthcare workers. For some occupations, the current program is unworkable. For instance, it presently takes about 7 years for a fully qualified nurse to enter the US.
These RNs are fully qualified. They have graduated from international schools and had their education validated by US states' Boards of Nursing. They have taken and passed the US NCLEX licensure exam, and met all other individual state requirements for licensure, including passing English fluency exams. Every single RN in the queue has been offered a job by a US employer.
There is no debate that these RNs are needed in the US, in spite of the current employment condition in the US. The predictions for US nursing supply over the next decade are disastrous.
The IT community recognizes a similar set of fundamentals in their industry. Recently, the Semiconductor Industry of America (SIA) and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) co-authored a letter to the ranking members of the Congressional Subcommittee on Immigration. The letter calls for sensible immigration reform, including reforming quotas to match the needs of all interested parties. One of the aims is to reduce the enormous visa wait times for green cards for qualified workers. These reforms will also help healthcare workers, such as RNs. The healthcare industry continues to work the issue as well.