The purpose of this study was to describe and compare the demands of immigration on nurses from Canada and those from the Philippines, who immigrate to the USA and work in Hawaii. The findings can assist policy-makers in formulating plans to alleviate the shortage of nurses through effective immigration recruitment practices. Nurse educators can gain support for the recruitment of students from a diverse array of cultures. Managers and nursing leaders can use this information in designing recruitment, orientation, support and retention programmes for nurses that are specific to their cultural needs. The two groups of nurses were sampled from acute care staff nurse populations in Hawaii. Aroian's instrument, the Demands of Immigration scale, was used to measure and compare the distress levels of the nurses. The findings include a higher level of distress experienced by nurses from Canada compared with nurses from the Philippines. This might be attributed to a preponderance of social and collegial support available to the Philippine nurses in Hawaii where one-fourth of the population is derived from their country of origin.