Recently the media has begun to pick up news items highlighting the importance of high skilled workers in the American economy; a development that is likely being driven by academic research. This bodes well for healthcare visa applicants in both the long and short run.
Academics and think tanks have long understood the connection between high skilled workers and its benefits on the US economy. The independent National Foundation for American Policy latest Policy Brief (December 2007) brings the point home:
“U.S. technology companies, research labs and companies serving clients in a range of fields are being driven by Congress to pursue offshore alternatives due to current and proposed restrictions on high-skill immigration. The burgeoning demand for skilled labor throughout the U.S. economy and an increasing need to compete globally has created a demand for scientists, engineers and professionals in the United States that cannot be filled by Americans alone.”
This follows several other studies released by NFAP that specifically addressed America’s struggle with visas for nurses and other healthcare workers:
- NFAP Policy Brief: Foreign-Educated Nurses – A Small But Important Part of the U.S. Health Workforce, October 2007 Press Release
- NFAP Study: Deadly Consequences: The Hidden Impact of America’s Nursing Shortage, September 2007 Press Release
Recently CQ Daily, an influential insider DC news source highlighted the struggle to procure visas for healthcare workers.
The other main insider news source, The Hill, also explains the need for healthcare visa reform.
This week Congress is back. Congress may elect to tack on the long-considered Bridge legislation this term when it looks to conclude its Omnibus budget bill this week. Congress may also push off the budget bill and decide to pass a temporary Continuing Resolution, which will fund the government for a short period of time while details are dickered behind closed doors. Theoretically any of theses bill are opportunities for Congress to pass the Bridge. The odds are long on the Bridge passing this year, but not impossible.
This week the Coailtion to Improve Healthcare Staffing will be having its annual meeting in Washington DC. On the agenda is how to improve the odds for Healthcare visa reform in 2008.