GA Immigration Law Delays License Renewals for Thousands of Nurses

Feb 6, 2013

State officials say licenses for more than 2,500 registered nurses are now on hold. It’s due to Georgia’s strict new immigration law.

Under the 2011 law, every Georgian seeking to renew a professional state license — no matter where they’re born — must prove legal status every two years.

It has created problems for Secretary of State Brian Kemp, who says he doesn’t have enough staff to handle the flood of renewal documents.

“We’ve taken an online streamlined process and made it bureaucratic,” said Kemp.

Debbie Hackman, the CEO of the Georgia Nurses Association, says the new requirement has caused a lot of hassle for Georgia’s 110,000 nurses.

“My understanding is of all the licenses they have renewed, there’s only been one attempt by someone who was an illegal so it’s like trying to find a needle in a haystack," said Hackman. "It does cause a logjam and a barrier.”

Hackman wants the law amended so nurses only have to submit proof of citizenship once. Bills are making their way through the legislature to do just that.

In the meantime, state officials say renewal documentation must be postmarked by Friday. If not, nurses will have to complete a full reinstatement process.