Issue Paper

Recruitment of Foreign Nurses


Because of the severe staffing shortage facing Wisconsin nursing facilities, representatives from 14 WAHSA organizations recently met in Milwaukee to listen to several representatives on the recruitment of registered nurses from The Philippines. The problem: The only viable solution to recruit foreign nurses as permanent resident aliens appears to be under the EB-3 or employment-based third preference category. And according to officials from the Immigration and Naturalization Service, the current processing time for an EB-3 is 360 days. With recruitment and time to prepare a petition factored in, the actual timeframe to bring a foreign nurse to the United States is 14-16 months. That timeframe simply does not meet the staffing needs of a number of WAHSA members.


We have attached a February 23, 2000 letter from John Boughton, CEO of Moravian Care Ministries in Chaska Minnesota, to Congressman Bruce Vento of Minnesota, which addresses the issue in greater detail. Mr. Boughton suggests several possible solutions to this dilemma, including clearing up the confusion around nurses under the H-1B category and allow facilities to begin to recruit nurses under H-1B. Another possible solution offered by Mr. Boughton is to bring back the H-1A classification (although it is our understanding from Congressman Barrett’s office, the H-1A category has not expired; rather the petition limit has been met). Our request is your aid in adopting any changes necessary to help WAHSA members recruit foreign nurses to meet their current staffing needs.

The Wisconsin Association of Homes and Services for the Aging (WAHSA) is a statewide membership organization of not-for-profit corporations principally serving elderly and disabled persons. Membership is comprised of 190 religious, fraternal, private and governmental organizations which own, operate and/or sponsor 194 not-for-profit nursing homes, 71 community-based residential facilities, 39 residential care apartment complexes, 100 independent living facilities, and 446 community service programs which provide services ranging from Alzheimer's support, child day care, hospice and home care to Meals on Wheels. For more information, please contact the WAHSA staff at (608) 255-7060: John Sauer, Executive Director; Tom Ramsey, Director of Government Relations; or Brian Schoeneck, Financial Services Director.

WAHSA 204 South Hamilton Street Madison, WI 53703
Telephone: (608)255-7060 FAX:(608)255-7064