Nursing homes want guest worker program in immigration bill

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"Members of the long term care community employ immigrants and boost the economy. Any visa program must give employers, not the government, the primary say in which workers they need to staff their businesses," the AHCA said. "In addition, the labor market should also have the primary say in how many workers enter the country annually in a legal program."

The group is scheduled to testify at a House hearing Thursday on immigration reform.

AHCA said the supply of skilled nurses in the U.S. will fall more than 30 percent short by 2020 if Congress does not act. The nursing-home group said immigration reform should allow employers to access "previously unused" temporary visas for healthcare workers.

Existing programs for permanent and temporary visas are inadequate to keep up with the demand for nurses, AHCA said.