List of Nurse Recruitment Agencies for U.S. Based Employment

As the demand for nurses rapidly increases in the United States, due to the bulk of the population aging, a substantial portion of nurses reaching retirement age, and now a global pandemic, nurses from outside the U.S. may consider working here temporarily or permanently. It is common for nursing recruitment agencies to steadily hire foreign-trained nurses to mitigate the nursing shortage.

List of International Healthcare Staffing Agencies

Below is a list of healthcare staffing agencies that assist foreign-trained registered nurses with finding a job in the United States. Likewise, hospital recruiters seeking nurses to assist with their facility’s nursing shortage can contact the staffing agency.

Licenses

The first step for foreign-trained nurses to obtain work in the United States is to pass the NCLEX-RN exam in the state that the nurse intends to be employed. Be sure to look into states that are part of the Nursing License Compact (NLC) and provide a multi-state license. To determine if a foreign-trained nurse is ready to take and pass the NCLEX-RN exam, the Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools (CGFNS) offers a prescreening test so that the nurse can determine if they need a refresher course. Many international nursing staffing agencies offer refresher courses.

Visas

Non-U.S. citizens are required to have an employer-sponsored visa to work in the United States. The international staffing agencies are generally well-versed in sponsoring visas for the foreign-trained nurses and can walk interested international nurses through the process. The most common route for visa procurement is to apply for a permanent work visa, otherwise known as a green card. However, there are other types of visas such as the TN visa for Canadian and Mexican nurses, and a temporary H-1B visa for certain nursing specialties in underserved areas. An international nurse is eligible to apply for a VISA after the NCLEX-RN is passed.

English Language Proficiency Tests

Depending on the native country of the nurse, the international nurse will have to pass either the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), the Test of English for International Communication (TOEIC) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). The sponsoring international staffing agency will assist the nurse in determining which test to take, and the results are sent directly to the state nursing board. Nurses originating from the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada (except Quebec), Ireland, and New Zealand are exempt from passing an English Language Proficiency Test.

Other Requirements

  • Only nurses who have a four-year nursing degree from an accredited nursing school are eligible for licensure and work in the United States.  
  • Some states require foreign-education nurses to take a Foreign Educated Nurses (FEN) refresher course that consist of classroom and clinical hours. 
  • Foreign-educated nurses must have also had at least two years of nursing experience in their home country prior to applying for work in the United States.  
  • Those who are NOT eligible for work in the United States as a registered nurse include: 
    1. Nurses with less than two years of experience. 
    2. Nurses who do not have a four-year nursing degree. 
    3. Nurses who have committed a crime.  
    4. Nurses who are not sponsored (visa) by a reputable, credentialed nursing staffing agency. 

Final Thoughts

While there are many steps to take for international nurses to become a Registered Nurse in the United States, the healthcare staffing agency will provide guidance along the way. Best of luck to you and your new career as a registered nurse in the United States!

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Dr. Jenna Liphart Rhoads Ph.D, RN, CNE

Dr. Jenna Liphart Rhoads is a registered nurse and a nurse educator. She earned a BSN from Saint Francis Medical Center College of Nursing and an MS in nursing education from Northern Illinois University. Jenna earned a Ph.D. in education with a concentration in nursing education from Capella University where she researched the moderation effects of emotional intelligence on the relationship of stress and GPA in military veteran nursing students.