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Chris Musillo on Nurse and Allied Health Immigration


  1. Follow the Blog

    by , 10-08-2009 at 05:19 AM (Chris Musillo on Nurse and Allied Health Immigration)

    by Chris Musillo

    There are several ways to follow this Blog.

    You can read it at .
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    You can subscribe to the Blog and have emails sent to you everytime the Blog is updated. To sign up for the email subscription service please go to, and put your email address into the box in the right-hand column.
    You can receive Twitter updates on

    Thanks for reading!
  2. CIR's Chances Improving

    by , 10-05-2009 at 05:49 AM (Chris Musillo on Nurse and Allied Health Immigration)

    by Chris Musillo

    Last week, the New York Times reported that new USCIS Director Alejandro Mayorkas is preparing for
    Comprehensive Immigration Reform (CIR). The Director's preparations aren't wishcasting, but are directives from the President himself. The odds of CIR may increase if the President takes a personal interest in the issue.

    For members of the healthcare industry, this is a welcome bit of news. Sen. Schumer's staff is said to be working on a CIR bill. The Senator has long been a friend of reasonable healthcare visa numbers. If CIR can gain momentum, there is a good chance that the long retrogression may be over.
  3. What Sen. Grassley Should Not Do on the H-1B Visa

    by , 10-03-2009 at 08:37 AM (Chris Musillo on Nurse and Allied Health Immigration)

    by Chris Musillo

    Last week Sen. Grassley continued his passionate cry against the H-1B program with a public letter to brand-new USCIS Director Mayorkas. Rather than furthering the discussion, his comments were loose with facts and didn't survive serious analysis. His authority for the "substantial fraud" (his words) is weak.

    Almost exactly one year ago, the USCIS produced the "H-1B Benefit Fraud & Compliance Report." According to Sen. Grassley, the Report alleges that 20.7% of all visa cases reviewed were identified as having "outright fraud or other program violations associated with them." The Senator's use of the statistical ".7%" is unfortunate. This precision gives the Report the degree of credibility and meticulousness that it does not deserve. Even the Report itself rounded off to 21% in its conclusion. Similarly, the Senator's use of the phrase "outright fraud" is exaggerated. "Fraud" is fraud; there is no such thing as "outright fraud". His aim seems to be to incite.

    The Senator's letter seems to purposefully attempt to confuse issues. In the above citation, note that the Senator says "...or other violations associated with them." The Report purposefully mixed technical violations and fraud findings. This is akin to mixing drunken driving fatalities and parking tickets in a report on motor vehicle violations. The Senator should be above this kind of word-smithing.

    The Senator also casually dismisses one of the Reports key findings: that Staffing Companies and IT Companies are not the types of organizations that are committing the fraud. Specifically, the Report's fourth finding was that the fraud was the violations were more likely in fields such as "accounting, human resources, business analysts, sales and advertising." Since this finding doesn't fit Sen. Grassley's theme, he ignores it.

    The Report itself was so poorly researched as to be virtually worthless. The sample used in the Report was 51 cases, which is a statistically insignificant number in a world where at least one hundred thousand H-1Bs are filed in any given year.

    In the year since the publication of the Report, none of the fraud implied in the Report has been acted upon. No arrests have been made. And no convictions have occurred. All of the investigations, including the much heralded Vision Systems indictments, were independent of the Report. It is also worth noting that the government recently amended their indictment in that case, lowering the damages sought. This reduction in allegation received far less press than the initial story.
    As I have argued in the past, H-1B fraud likely is overblown. As I said in April,

    In prior years we have seen more than twice as many H-1B cases accepted as slots were available. These numbers provide compelling evidence against the argument that internationally-trained workers are being used to displace American workers and lower US workers salaries. That argument just doesn't jibe with what is actually happening.

    If H-1B visa labor was being used primarily to lower US workers salaries, the H-1B filing numbers wouldn't be impacted to any meaningful degree. Why? Because the incentive to reduce workers' salaries is likely greater in a recessed economy, not less. This logic is straightforward and convincing.

    The H-1B program surely has problems that legislation could cure. As an experienced Senator, Mr. Grassley surely knows that reasonable fixes to the H-1B program are attainable. Instead it appears as if the Senator is more interested in inciting a base level interest voter. The Senator's aims would be better served by seeking out those organizations that are engaging in fraud, instead of broadly condemning the entire H-1B program. A good start would be to recognize the weak analysis in the H-1B Benefit Fraud & Compliance Report". When the Senator relies on the Report and plays politics with his language, his argument falls flat.
  4. Legislative Update for MDs

    by , 09-29-2009 at 06:00 AM (Chris Musillo on Nurse and Allied Health Immigration)
    by Chris Musillo
    Last week the House of Representatives passed a continuing resolution that if passed will extend the doctor's Conrad 30 program, which provides a common path for doctor immigration. The Conrad 30 program provides each U.S. state with 30 waivers for J-1 physicians each fiscal year.

    The legislation also includes extensions of the EB-5. E-Verify, and Religious Worker programs. These extensions, which are embedded in the annual government funding legislation is now headed to the Senate where it is expected to be considered today. The legislation is expected to pass before October 1, 2009, or else the government's funding will dry up.

    The legislation does not contain any "new" legislation, such as H.R.2536 - Emergency Nursing Supply Relief Act. Nursing and allied healthcare occupational visa reform is more likely to happen in early 2010.
  5. New USCIS Site

    by , 09-24-2009 at 05:36 AM (Chris Musillo on Nurse and Allied Health Immigration)

    by Chris Musillo
    On Tuesday I was asked to participate in a call with USCIS Director Alejandro Mayorkas. The Director reached out to several prominent bloggers. The purpose of the call was to get feedback on the new USCIS website. To the Director's credit, he participated directly on the call. He answered questions directly from the bloggers and had several USCIS officials there to help him with some of the details that the director of a huge agency could not possibly know.

    The new site has some very nice features. The most immediate improvement is that the site is clean and user-friendly. The updates to the Case Status section are commendable. Looking ahead, the Director explained that in May 2010 the site will alllow for interactive email service queries.

    The site is still buggy. Many of the new links are not operable at this time; USCIS expects to fix the bugs in the next few days/months. Curiously the webpage URL's are still unusually long. In the future, USCIS expects simplified URLs (e.g. instead of This URL is not a joke!).

    The Director showed a self-deprecating sense of humor. After acknowledging that the link to the Leadership Biography page was not yet fully operable, he coyly remarked that the reason for the delay was because his biography was lengthy and he had not yet finished it.

    But the best message that I heard is that the USCIS took the time to reach out to the community. In the past, USCIS announcements often come with a simple Press Release. This "new" USCIS approach to community outreach is laudable. The Director and his team deserves kudos.
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