As Health Systems Struggle With Nursing Shortages, CGFNS International Sees a Sharp Rise in Nurses Seeking to Migrate to the U.S.

Report Shows Visa Certifications Hitting a New High in 2023 But a Decline is Likely With U.S. Immigration Limits

In a report published today, CGFNS International revealed that in 2023, it issued its highest-ever number of occupational visa certifications to nurses and other skilled health workers seeking to migrate to the U.S., where health systems confront a staffing crisis.

CGFNS 2023 Nurse Migration Report

The company, a non-profit that verifies credentials for immigration authorities and state licensing boards, said it issued nearly 27,000 of its VisaScreen® certificates during the government fiscal year that ended in October. That is more than twice the number of certificates CGFNS issued the previous year.

The increase continues a six-year upward trend, during which the annual number of VisaScreen® certificates has quadrupled. Over this time, U.S. health systems have increasingly scrambled to fill staff vacancies amid a longstanding nursing shortage that was aggravated by pandemic-era challenges and is projected to worsen through the end of the decade.

In the report, CGFNS stated that higher levels of nurse immigration in recent years are likely to have peaked, even as the nursing shortage widens. This is because, barring intervention, U.S. visa availability is declining to pre-pandemic levels.

Download the 2023 Nurse Migration Report: Navigating Nursing Shortages and Immigration Barriers.

Data in the report were derived from applicant information submitted to the VisaScreen® Service and the CGFNS Credentials Evaluation Service, two leading pathways through which foreign-educated nurses and other healthcare professionals can migrate to and work in the U.S.

Other key findings in the report:

  • The Philippines continues to be by far the largest source of immigrant nurses for the U.S., accounting for more than 60% of the total VisaScreen® certificates issued by CGFNS.
  • In 2023, the vast majority (85%) of certificates were issued to registered nurses (RNs), with another 14% issued to clinical laboratory scientists.
  • More than three-quarters (78%) of those applying for certificates were seeking permanent green cards, up from 64% in 2018 and up nine percentage points in just the past year, showing a strong trend toward permanent migration among nurses.

“Recruitment of nurses from outside the U.S. by using best practices has been critical to helping U.S. health systems cope with extraordinary staffing challenges and to ensure patient safety. With many thousands of qualified foreign-trained nurses willing and waiting to migrate to meet this present need, now is not the time to further restrict their numbers, especially when nurses want to come to the U.S. to advance their careers,” said Peter Preziosi, President and CEO of CGFNS.

Contact Information
David St. John
dstjohn@cgfns.org

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