Up to 50,000 additional visas for registered nurses and physical therapists are expected to ease a lengthy wait for nurses from China, India and the Philippines. The visas were passed by the Senate Tuesday as part of a military and tsunami aid spending bill, which cleared the House last week. The bill awaits President Bush's signature. The State Department sharply restricted visa approvals for nurses from China, India and the Philippines in January to prevent the countries from exceeding an annual quota. The one-time visa bonus will allow the department to recycle about one-third of the roughly 140,000 visas that went unused in 2001 through 2004. Typically, the U.S. caps visas awarded each year and does not allow unused visas to be carried over to the next year. -- by Melanie Evans
Additional visas to ease wait for some foreign nurses
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