In the midst of America’s nursing shortage, it is imperative that leaders in the healthcare sector and legislators employ all tools at their disposal to find a solution to the crisis—including employing foreign-educated nurses. A key part of this is ensuring that the visa process is efficient, fair, and working in Americans’ best interests.

In a new piece for Forbes, economist Wayne Winegarden detailed that, currently, it is not feasible to alleviate the shortage solely by educating more nurses domestically – at least in the short term. As the American Association of Colleges of Nursing has noted, nursing schools are turning away applicants at increasing rates due to insufficient resources. The result is a crippled pipeline of domestic nurses, all but certain to increasingly deteriorate the already depleted industry.

Now, a clear solution exists to expeditiously fill critical gaps in care: foreign-educated nurses. Yet, the US government is creating unnecessary regulatory hurdles. The State Department has halted access to work visas due to federal limits. Only those nurses who filed for a green card prior to June 2022 are eligible for visa interviews. This rule all but guarantees that the supply of experienced nurses will fail to keep up with the needs of our healthcare system. Unless this backlog is alleviated, the current nursing shortage is certain to deteriorate.

Government officials must prioritize immigration applications for healthcare professionals looking to bring their much-needed skill sets to the United States. A robust healthcare sector benefits all Americans, and thoughtful immigration policy can play a pivotal role in rehabilitating a sector currently requiring intensive care.

Read more from Wayne Winegarden here.