We believe that immigrants are a critical piece of our nation's past and the future. Welcome to Healthcare Law Partners.
As a foreign educated nurse seeking work in the united states, there are some basic federal immigration law requirements that a foreign educated nurse would need to meet.
First, IMMIGRATION, the nurse will need to legally migrate to the United States, and they will need either a Green Care (a Registered Nurse Immigrant Visa) or a H-1B visa or even a EB-2 National Interest Waiver Green Card.
Second, EDUCATION/PROFESSIONAL, the nurse will need to demonstrate their educational or professional background. That the nurse has graduated from an accredited nursing education program, that they have a license as a RN in another country, that the Nurse has practiced for at least two years before. Some will be required to take an exam such as the Test of English as a Foreign Language.
Third, EVALUATION, they will need to have their credentials evaluated by an accrediting agency such as CGFNS.org; to ensure that the background an experience is comparable to the requirements of the State they are applying for and to satisfy the state board requirements.
Fourth, EXAM, the foreign-educated nurse will need to pass a licensing exam in the State where they plan to work. Passing the NCLEX-RN exam is the basic requirement that will satisfy the visa screening requirements.
Fifth, FIND POSITION, once you meet the federal immigration requirements, have had your credentials evaluated, met your State Board of Nursing requirements, passed the licensure exam, you are then ready to begin work. You may the choose to work with a nursing recruiter to help you find work or you may work directly work for and through the recruiting company. The recruiters has a set of Ethical International Recruitment Practices Certified Ethical Recruiter standards to abide by.
The following are more details on the course ahead from a fantastic website nurse.org:
There are eight key steps foreign-educated nurses will need to take in order to obtain a position as an RN in a U.S. hospital.
First and foremost, international educated nurses must meet basic education requirements. These include:
Licensed practical nurses, licensed vocational nurses, and patient care assistants are not eligible to transfer their licenses to the United States.
After meeting the initial education requirements, some foreign educated nurses must take and pass the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), the Test of English for International Communication (TOEIC) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). This will vary depending on the country of origin and results are sent directly to the state nursing board.
Nurses who went to nursing school in the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Canada (except Quebec), or Ireland are exempt as are those whose spoken language in nursing school was English and/or the nursing school textbooks were written in English.
After ensuring you meet the education and language requirements it’s time to apply for the NCLEX in the state of intended employment. Registration with Pearson Vue is required and costs $200 plus additional foreign fees.
According to the webpage, NCLEX examinations are currently administered in Australia, Canada, England, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Japan, Mexico, Philippines, Puerto Rico, and Taiwan.
The Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools (CGFNS) is a company that is employed by State Boards of Nursing to ensure that applicants meet the basic requirements and are fit to take the NCLEX.
Established in 1977 after a thorough investigation of the immigration of foreign-born and educated registered nurses, the U.S. Department of State and Labor developed the Commission with a dual purpose: to ensure safe patient care to Americans and to help prevent the exploitation of graduates from foreign nursing schools who are employed in the United States to practice.
This company specifically will go through all nursing school transcripts and education history from your home country. While this company is the most popular and most well known - it is expensive and each state requires different levels of credentialing.
There are three main credentialing reports:
This report is less involved and cheaper than the Certificate Program or VisaScreen. It provides the basic information for the State Board of Nursing and only a handful of states accept this.
Below are the requirements you’ll need to mee:
This evaluation is the same as above but requires the applicant to take the CGFNS Qualifying Exam.
Here are some specifics:
The CGFNS Qualifying Exam helps states determine if foreign-educated nurses are well suited to care for patients in America. According to the CGFNS web page, individuals must possess a wide variety of nursing knowledge.
Applicants are required to have a minimum number of classroom and clinical hours in required fields such as pediatric nursing, psychiatric nursing, neonatal nursing, and adult medical/surgical nursing.
The examination is held three times a year at over 40 testing centers across the globe. Individuals may travel to other countries, if needed, in order to take the exam.
The same requirements as the CGFNS Certification Program but will qualify the individual for a Work Visa after successful completion of the NCLEX.
You’ll also need to pay a $540 fee.
Other credentialing services could potentially be cheaper and still accepted by the State Boards of Nursing. It is important to check with the State Board before using a different credential service. Alternatives to CGFNS include:
The next step is to obtain an employment visa. There are several options for these nurses but nurses must have sponsorship from a staffing agency. It is easier for foreign nurses to work with an independent staffing recruiter and agency then directly with a hospital.
Agencies are well versed in helping nurses work in the U.S. and have systems in place in order to ensure all information and paperwork is completed accurately.
Mexican and Canadian nurses may work in the United States with a special TN visa if the individual has an offer of employment, a license to practice in their home country, and pass the NCLEX and state licensure requirements.
Nurses who hold a four-year degree and fulfill a specialized nursing role may qualify for an H-1B temporary work visa and then apply for a green card once stateside. These specialized roles include critical care nurses, emergency room nurses, and/or cardiology nurses.
It is important to note that there a very limited number of H-1C visas available to nurses who want to work in very specific hospitals in underserved communities.
The majority of foreign-trained nurses will need to obtain a permanent work visa, otherwise known as a green card. This application needs to be completed prior to travel to the United States and the visa must be obtained before immigrating legally.
There is another option available for those who hold an advanced degree (Master's, Ph.D or an MD), this is a great new avenues for obtaining a green card. Given today's COVID-19 environment, these National Interest Waiver green cards have become more accessible than ever.
Unfortunately, not all foreign-educated nurses are eligible to work in the United States. These include but are not limited to:
If you are ready to discuss how you or your prospective employee can get a work US visas for Nurses we can help get that done. Our firm is the right for those who:
- want Access to a Senior Law Partner 24/7, via call or text;
- get Practical Advice while minimizing legal speak; and
- be Guaranteed that we will strive to perform the work to satisfy you, and if the workmanship does not meet your satisfaction, we will either fix it or refund your money.
For a confidential consultation call/text at (954)445-5503 or email me at Ben@HealthcareAttorney.Net
Ben Assad Mirza, Esq., CHC, CPA, JD, LLM, MPHA
Important Note: If you need legal advice that is more state law specific than what is required by Federal Statutes, please advise us so we may connect you with the right legal counsel licensed in the state you are inquiring about.
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