September 6's Fact of the Week: Exchange Visitor Program

After the United States Congress passed the Smith-Mundt Act or the Information and Educational Exchange Act of 1948, the subsequent Exchange Visitor Program (EVP) allowed Filipino nurses to immigrate and come to the United States with visitor visas valid for two years to work, study, and learn about American culture. Consequently, waves of Filipino nurses immigrated primarily from 1950s to post-1965. After the two years, the United States expected Filipino nurses to not only gain work experience, but also carry their experiences back to the Philippines and return to work. However, through the program, many Filipino nurses discovered that the United States included pension plans, higher wages, and flexible work schedules and represented socioeconomic mobility as a result of the opportunities abroad, materialistic and economic advantages, leisure, travel and adventure. Although nurses had to return to the Philippines, some reapplied to return to the United States with an immigrant visa for permanent or indefinite stay.