The National Foundation for American Policy has just released a report discussing the need for international health care professionals and also discusses the various obstacles these workers face. Here are their four key recommendations:
Good ideas and some are being discussed in Congress right now.
1) Expand the number of employment-based green cards so the wait times for skilled immigrants, including nurses, physicians, and physical/occupational therapists, can be measured in weeks or months, rather than in years or decades.
2) Establish a temporary visa that facilitates the entry of foreign nurses. Current temporary visas do not work for the vast majority of foreign nurses and their potential employers.
3) To aid patients in underserved areas and enable more U.S.-trained doctors to pursue specialized medical fields expand the Conrad 30 program to include many more physicians per state and in the country as a whole. Also, we should consider policies to overcome the limitations on medical residency slots in the U.S. by developing guidelines to allow foreign-trained doctors to practice in the United States if they can demonstrate a high level of expertise. Congress logically should include physicians and medical researchers in biology and chemistry in the definition of Science Technology Engineering and
Mathematics (STEM) for exemption from employment-based green card quotas in future legislation.
4) Streamline state licensing and other procedures for foreign medical personnel, including physical therapists and occupational therapists, to help with the nation’s long-term health needs.