Thank you for contacting the American Nurses Associations.
I would like to take a moment to clarify ANA's position with
regard to immigration.
ANA's position builds upon the position established by the
International Council of Nurses (ICN), an international
organization with 125 member countries. ICN and ANA
recognize the right of individual nurses to migrate. However,
ICN and ANA condemn the practice of recruiting nurses to
countries where authorities have failed to address human
resource planning and problems which cause nurses to leave
the profession and discourage them from returning to nursing.
ANA believes that the U. S. health care industry has failed to
maintain a work environment that is conducive to safe, quality
nursing practice and that retains experienced U.S. nurses
within patient care. Therefore, the practice of changing
immigration law to facilitate the use of foreign educated
nurses is a short term solution that serves only the interests
of the hospital industry, not the interests of patients,
domestic nurses or foreign educated nurses.
In 1996, ANA successfully supported the inclusion of a
provision within the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant
Responsibility Act. This provision created a prescreening
process for all foreign educated health care professionals,
including nurses, who wish to apply for an
occupational/employment visa. For nursing, the
Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools
(CGFNS) was designated as the prescreening authority. The
prescreening process includes a predictor examination;
English proficiency testing, both written and spoken; review of
education to ensure comparability with U.S. nursing
curriculum; and a check of their home country license to
ensure that it is valid and unencumbered. This process is
tied to obtaining a visa and is separate from the state
licensure process which must also be completed.
Finally, ANA strongly opposes two pieces of federal
legislation that would dramatically open U.S. immigration law
to allow for a substantial increase in the number of foreign
educated nurses who could enter the country.
While your concern focuses on foreign educated nurses,
ANA's primary concern lies with a health care industry here in
the U.S. that is abusive to all nurses, foreign and domestic.
ANA seeks to greatly improve the overall working conditions
for all nurses and to ensure that there are adequate
protections in our immigration laws that allow for appropriate
immigration of foreign nurses who are paid and treated the
same as U.S. nurses and do not undermine the U.S. nursing
I hope that this information is helpful to you.
Cheryl Peterson, MSN, RN
Senior Policy Fellow
American Nurses Association