By Kristine L. Alave
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 09:01:00 01/05/2009
MANILA, Philippines—The United States will need 1.2 million new nurses by 2014 to meet the growing demands of its aging population and to fill in for retiring health workers, a recruitment consultant said over the weekend.
Citing a report from the US Department of Health and Human Services, recruitment consultant Emmanuel Geslani said the US will need 500,000 nurses to replace those leaving the service and 700,000 more to take care of the aging baby boomers in the coming years.
Geslani, however, said Filipino nurses should not pin all their hopes on the American market.
According to Geslani, who works for the Federated Association of Manpower Exporters (FAME), an umbrella group of recruiters, the US States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) has yet to adopt rules that would expedite the processing of visas for foreign nurses.
There have been proposals to the USCIS to have a dedicated lane and category for foreign nurses to fast track their visa applications. Geslani said the USCIS is still studying the proposal and it may take the agency sometime to reach a decision on the matter.
“The nursing shortage in the US may not be solved in the immediate future as policy recommendations will have to be approved and the red tape involved in the processing of nurses visas will have to be resolved without the CIS letting up on its safeguards in setting up standards for foreign nurses qualifications,” he said.
Geslani and FAME urged Filipino nurses not to wait for the US market to open up. They noted that they could apply to health facilities in the Middle East. Although the pay in Middle East is lower than in the US, Filipino nurses do not have to wait for years before getting a job there, Geslani said.
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