To ease the nursing shortage in the US, New York's St John's Riverside Hospital, which operates a nursing school and supplies nurses to 100 hospitals, has arranged for Korean nurses to come to the US for a one and a half year internship that leads to full time employment.
As many as 10,000 nurses could be leaving South Korea to work in the US over the next 5 years. The US Department of Health and Human Services has predicted that in the year 2020, there will be a shortage of 800,000 nurses in the US.
The deal was reached between the hospital and the Human Resources Development Service of Korea.
The nurses will be paid $25 per hour during their internship and they will receive three months of intensive English training before they leave South Korea.
To relieve the nursing shortages, some US politicians want to make it easier for overseas nurses to immigrate to the US.
A provision in the US Senate immigration bill would lift a cap on special visas for nurses, which now stands at 500 each year.
There are concerns, that so many nurses leaving South Korea will leave the country in a health care crisis. This problem has already occurred in countries such as the Philippines, India and in Africa, where health care workers have left for Western countries.
About one-quarter of all licensed physicians in Australia, Canada, the UK and the US are from the developing world, with India, the Philippines and Pakistan providing the majority.