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Chris Musillo on Nurse and Allied Health Immigration

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  1. UPDATES ON THE VISA BULLETIN

    by , 05-18-2016 at 12:08 PM (Chris Musillo on Nurse and Allied Health Immigration)
    by Chris Musillo

    AILA recently published its May “Check-In with Charlie”. The Check-In is a Q&A with the Department of State’s Chief of the Visa Control and Reporting Division. Charlie is ultimately the person responsible for the publication of each month’s Visa Bulletin. This month’s Check-In provided these insights into the Visa Bulletin for Beneficiaries of the most common employment-based immigrant visas.

    India.
    The EB-2 date will only advance slowly for the remainder of the US Fiscal Year, i.e. until October 1, 2016. The EB-3 date will also move slowly for the rest of this fiscal year.

    China. EB-2 China has a more favorable date than EB-3 China. This is expected to remain in place for the remainder of the fiscal year. Since China EB-2 is now more favorable than China EB-3, it is expected that EB-3 “downgrades” will end.


    Please read the Musillo Unkenholt Healthcare and Immigration Law Blog at www.musillo.com and www.ilw.com. You can also visit us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
  2. USCIS PUBLISHES PROPOSED FILING FEE INCREASE

    by , 05-12-2016 at 10:12 AM (Chris Musillo on Nurse and Allied Health Immigration)
    by Chris Musillo

    On May 4, 2016, the USCIS published a proposed rule that will increase filing fees by an average of 21 percent. The proposed fees for most business immigration filings are in the table, below. The above-link will lead the reader to the full list of proposed increases.

    USCIS is taking public comments through July 5, 2016. They last raised their fees in 2010. USCIS fees basically pay for the entire USCIS budget. Very little of the USCIS’ budget comes from federal tax dollars.


    Proposed fees

    Form
    Current Fee
    Proposed Increase
    Change
    I-129
    $325
    $460
    +$135
    I-130
    $420
    $535
    +$115
    I-140
    $580
    $700
    +$120
    I-485
    $1,070
    $1,225
    +$155
    I-539
    $290
    $370
    +$80
    I-765
    $385
    $410
    +$30

    Please read the Musillo Unkenholt Healthcare and Immigration Law Blog at www.musillo.com and www.ilw.com. You can also visit us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
  3. JUNE 2016 VISA BULLETIN: ANALYSIS AND PREDICTIONS

    by , 05-10-2016 at 10:05 AM (Chris Musillo on Nurse and Allied Health Immigration)
    by Chris Musillo

    The Department of State has just issued the June 2016 Visa Bulletin. This is the ninth Visa Bulletin of Fiscal Year 2016.

    June 2016 Visa Bulletin

    Final Action Dates

    Applications with these dates may be approved for their Green Card (Permanent Residency card).


    Employment- Based
    All Chargeability Areas Except Those Listed
    CHINA - mainland born
    INDIA
    MEXICO
    PHILIPPINES
    1st
    C
    C
    C
    C
    C
    2nd
    C
    01JAN10
    01OCT04
    C
    C
    3rd
    15FEB16
    01JAN10
    22SEP04
    15FEB16
    01NOV08


    MU Law Analysis

    All Other: The EB-2 has been current for many years. The EB-3 remains at Feb 15, 2016, just as it was last month. These dates continue to be very favorable. We expect that All Other dates will continue to be positive for the foreseeable future.

    China: Both Chinese categories retrogressed, reflecting greater demand. The DOS predicted that EB-3 would retrogress in a note to last month's visa bulletin.

    India: EB-3 moved ahead a few weeks. But the EB-2 retrogressed by four years. We expect the India EB-2 to stay in 2004 until the October 2016 Visa Bulletin at which time it should steadily move forward.

    Mexico:
    Mirrors All Other in all aspects.

    Philippines: EB-3 moved ahead three more months. MU Law believes that Philippines EB-3 will continue to steadily move forward in the coming months. We expect it to move into 2009 in the by early summer, and may reach 2010 by the end of this fiscal year.

    Dates of Filing

    Applications with these priority dates should see their Consular Process application progress. The USCIS may allow filing of the I-485 Adjustment of Status, provided that the USCIS issues its monthly authorization.


    Employment-
    Based

    All Chargeability
    Areas Except
    Those Listed

    CHINA-
    mainland
    born

    INDIA
    MEXICO
    PHILIPPINES
    1st
    C
    C
    C
    C
    C
    2nd
    C
    01JUN13
    01JUL09
    C
    C
    3rd
    C
    01MAY15
    01JUL05
    C
    01JAN10


    MU Law Analysis

    These dates did not change from the prior Visa Bulletin.


    Please read the Musillo Unkenholt Healthcare and Immigration Law Blog at
    www.musillo.com and www.ilw.com. You can also visit us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
  4. USCIS ISSUES NEW OPT STEM EXTENSION PROGRAM – EFFECTIVE MAY 10, 2016

    by , 05-04-2016 at 10:11 AM (Chris Musillo on Nurse and Allied Health Immigration)
    by Maria Schneider

    On March 11, 2016 the USCIS published the rules of a new, expanded STEM Extension OPT program. The new STEM Extension will go into effect Tuesday, May 10, 2016. Among other changes, the program extends the length of the STEM Extension from 17 months to 24 months and that students are now permitted an aggregate of 170 days of unemployment for OPT and the STEM Extension period. For more information, please visit https://studyinthestates.dhs.gov/



    EMPLOYER REQUIREMENTS

    The new STEM Extension Program requires more from employers. To employ a student under the new STEM Program, employers must:


    1. Be an E-Verify employer. This remains unchanged from the previous STEM Extension Program.
    2. Pay the student a wage commensurate to similarly situated US workers. The calculation of this wage should be documented in the student’s employment record.
    3. Employ the OPT student for at least 20 hours per week in a position that is directly related to the student’s degree.
    4. Report any material changes in the student’s employment to the appropriate school official. Material changes include: a change in the student’s hours, compensation, worksite, supervisor, or changes to the corporate structure. Employers must also report a termination or resignation of employment to the school official within 5 business days.
    5. Be subject to site visits by USCIS Officers to verify the student’s employment.
    6. Complete and comply with a training plan for the student’s employment. See below for additional details about the training plan.



    TRAINING PLAN

    The STEM Extension Training Plan has four components:


    1. Describe the student’s role. List specific tasks, give time frames and goals, describe the phases of the student’s training.
    2. Identify the goals and objectives of the training. State specific skills, techniques, or knowledge the student will gain while employed and describe projects or assignments where the student will use these skills.
    3. Detail the employer’s oversight of the student. State the frequency with which the student will meet with his/her supervisor. Detail how the supervisor will review or sign off on the student’s work and describe any existing training programs in place.
    4. Define the measures and assessments by which the student will be evaluated. Detail how the student’s progress will be tested. Note any new technologies or skills which will be learned and keep a journal of or regular reviews of student’s work.



    Employer’s Certification

    Form I-983, the Training Plan for STEM OPT Students is available in draft form but has not yet been finalized by the Immigration Service. By signing the training plan, the employer confirms:


    1. Employment is directly related to the student’s degree and achieves the objectives of the training program;
    2. Student will receive supervision and training by experienced staff;
    3. Employer has sufficient resources and personnel to provide training to the student;
    4. The OPT student is not replacing a full- or part-time, temporary or permanent US Worker. The terms and conditions of the student’s employment are commensurate with similarly situated US Workers at the company.
    5. The training complies with all applicable federal and state requirements related to employment.



    TRANSITION RULES


    There are three primary groups of students impacted by the implementation of the new STEM Extension Program:

    1. Students on a 17 month STEM Extension.


    • These students with 150 days of time left on their OPT can apply for an additional 7 months of OPT, giving them the full 24 months of STEM OPT.
    • These 7 month requests must be filed between May 10 and August 8. The request requires a new I-20, I-765, and filing fee.
    • If the student elects not to ask for the 7 month extension, the student completes the STEM OPT Period under the old rules.


    2. Students with a pending STEM Extension on May 10, 2016.


    • The new rules apply to the STEM extension request. These students should expect an RFE to be issued requesting a training plan and other new requirements.
    • By responding to the RFE the student amends the STEM OPT to the full 24 month period without filing a new request.


    3. Students on a 12 month OPT.


    • If the OPT expires before May 10, the student should file for the 17 month STEM Extension and expect an RFE (as outlined in #2 above).
    • If the OPT expires after May 10, the student should file by June 1 under either STEM Extension Program - the 17 month or 24 month.
    • If the OPT expires after June 1, the student must file the STEM Extension under the 24 month program.


    Please read the Musillo Unkenholt Healthcare and Immigration Law Blog at www.musillo.com and www.ilw.com. You can also visit us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
  5. PROPOSED H-2C LAW WOULD ALLOW QUICK VISAS FOR NURSES, OTHER NON-H-1B OCCUPATIONS

    by , 05-03-2016 at 08:35 AM (Chris Musillo on Nurse and Allied Health Immigration)
    by Chris Musillo

    Sen. Flake’s bill, the Willing Workers and Willing Employers Act of 2016, will allow workers who work in Job Zones 1 through 3 to perform year-round non-agricultural work in the United States.

    Job Zones 1-3 generally are those positions that require less than a bachelor’s degree, such as registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, physical therapy assistants, occupational therapy assistants, caregivers, and other similar allied health professionals.

    Sen. Flake’s bill includes many US worker protections, such as:


    • Sponsoring employers would have to pay a “Scarcity Recruitment Fee,” in addition to USCIS filing fees. This fee is equal to 5 percent of the H-2C’s annual salary.
    • The job must be in a full employment area, which is a county whose unemployment rate is 4.9 percent or less.
    • Employers have to attest that there are no US workers being laid off as a result of the H-2C workers’ employment.
    • Employers have to prove that they have actively recruited US workers for the position.
    • Employers would have to participate in E-Verify.


    The H-2C program would be active for 10 years. It will have a flexible cap of 45,000 – 85,000 depending on demand.

    H-2C visa holders would also be barred from bringing in any family members into the US. However they would be able to file for permanent residency, at which time their family members can come to US.

    Unfortunately, most pundits give Sen. Flake’s bill virtually no chance of passing. While this bill is not perfect, it is good to see that there are some Republican Senators who still understand the value that immigration brings to the US.

    Please read the Musillo Unkenholt Healthcare and Immigration Law Blog at www.musillo.com and www.ilw.com. You can also visit us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

    Updated 05-03-2016 at 08:40 AM by CMusillo

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