The toll of nearly three years of COVID-19 includes millions of nurses broken by punishing hours and low pay, many of whom quit the profession and left hospitals dangerously short of critical staff.

Now with pandemic-related travel restrictions easing, countries from Germany to the United Arab Emirates and Singapore are stepping up efforts to lure foreign nurses and other medical professionals with promises of expedited visas and better pay.

Second-year nursing student Elaine Nicole Torres, from the Philippines, wants to help fill that gap — forecast by the International Council of Nurses to widen to 13 million in the coming years. She’ll graduate at an opportune time, with the global health care staffing sector expected to grow 6.9% a year to $63 billion by 2030, according to Grand View Research.