Let more foreign workers fill nursing positions, association says

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The government should make it easier for foreigners to obtain and keep nursing jobs in the United States, a prominent leader of a long-term care association told the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday.

It is important to recognize that thousands of jobs in the U.S. remain unfilled, said Hal Daub, president and CEO of the American Health Care Association. "Our laws," he said, "should therefore allow willing workers to enter our country and fill this void."

The nursing shortage is well documented. A recent study by the Department of Health and Human Services and U.S. Department of Labor estimates that the U.S. will need between 5.7 million to 6.5 million nurses, nurse aides, home health attendants and personal care workers by 2050 to care for the 27 million Americans who will require long-term care. Also, approximately 52,000 certified nursing aides (CNAs) are needed immediately in nursing homes, Daub said, citing an AHCA study.

The government not only should welcome people from other countries to fill unwanted jobs, it must also give undocumented workers who pay taxes and contribute to labor needs a vehicle to earn legal status, Daub said. He testified before the committee on behalf of a coalition of businesses, trade associations and other organizations concerned with the shortage of skilled and lesser skilled labor.

Text of Hal Daub's complete testimony is available at: http://www.ahca.org/news/testimony.htm.