I'm now job hunting in US. Batch '07. There are a lot of job openings for R.N.s- mostly nursing homes though. The problem is the availability of visa.
By extensive research and consulation with a lawyer, i'm sharing my thoughts on the 3 ways to work in USA via employer that is suitable for nurses (me).
I-140 - Immigrant petition to alien workers. When you get approved, you'll be able to work in USA, and your papers for immigration is also processed. In order to work within 4 months after filing, it has to be current. Right now, it is not current. I believe the last time it was current was in 2006. If you your employer will apply for this type right now, your priority date would be OCT2009. Right now, 2002 priority date is being process. So it is a 7 year backlog. My lawyer said that a law for faster processing of I-140 is being pushed in the legislation. However, we don't know when will that law be passed. (bagong graduate pa lang ako, pinupush na yan sa congress.) Looking at the economy of USA right now, it may take some time. My lawyer suggests that the hospital should already petition me now. It means, I would have a priority date. kahit papano, nakapila nako sa mahabang pila. It is still indefinite when I'll be working.
The second type of visa..
H1B- Non-immigrant working visa. When you get approved, you are not processing your immigrant status yet. (But you can process it inthe future.) The problem with H1B visa, is that a nurse would have a specialty. The hospital/facility (who will petition you) shouls prove that you are a HIGHLY SPECIALIZED NURSE. It means you must have experience. You must prove that you are not an ordinary registered nurse. If you are a fresh grad, this can't be your option. H1B visas are available for year 2009/10 because there are still slots left.
Examples of higly specialized nurses - upper level managers, ICU nurses, nurse midwife, nurse anesthetist, PICU, ER, OR, etc. If you can prove that you are a highly specialized nurse , then you can give it a go. You must have a very good lawyer if you are going to apply for this one. Btw, premium processing of H1b takes 15 days. Processing meaning, after your employer submits your application, you'll know in 15 days if you got it or not.
Another type of visa that could be possible for me (us) is...
H1C - temporary non-immigrant working visa. this can only be valid for 3 years and non renewable. It's like the H1B. the difference is that, you do not need to be a highly specialized nurse. But you still need working experience. Only 14 hospitals in USA can use this H1C. These 14 facilities are considered as hospitals that badly needs nurses.
Just sharing my experience.