U.S. to Import 10,000 S. Koreans For Nurses Over Five Years

Yonhap News, April 14, 2006

SEOUL—As many as 10,000 South Koreans will likely be hired as nurses at U.S. hospitals over the next five years, a South Korean state firm said Friday.

The Resources Development Service of Korea said it plans to sign a contract with San Francisco-based worker dispatch company HRS Global and New York-based St. John’s Riverside Hospital for employment of the South Korean nurses on Wednesday.

The move comes as the U.S. government encourages its hospitals to import foreign nurses to fill a shortage of about 300,000 nurses. In New York alone, about 30,000 nurses are believed to be needed right now.

Under the contract, the Korean nurses will go through a 10-day job training upon arrival in the U.S. before being assigned to 36 hospitals in New York as intern nurses for per-hour salary of US$25, according to the South Korean firm.

After a one-year English language education by HRS Global, the Koreans will be promoted to full-fledged nurses if they pass the English proficiency test IELST, the service said. They will later be able to apply for a permanent U.S. residence as nurses, it said.

There are currently about 6,000 South Korean nurses working in the U.S. In the last four years, only 320 South Koreans were employed as nurses in the U.S., according to data from HRS Global.

It would be the largest number of South Korean nurses to be sent abroad since the 1960s and 1970s, during which about 8,400 got jobs in West Germany.

The South Korean state firm plans to provide three months of English language training to those to be sent to the U.S.

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