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Chris Musillo on Nurse and Allied Health Immigration


  1. Summary of CIR ASAP

    by , 12-15-2009 at 10:54 AM (Chris Musillo on Nurse and Allied Health Immigration)

    by Chris Musillo
    Both Reform For America and the Immigration Policy Center have summarized the Bill. According to the IPC summary, the ENSRA has been included in CIR ASAP. This means that nursing petitions will be exempt from the Immigrant Visa numbers, which is the legislation that groups such as the AAIHR have been pushing all along.

    Here are the other highlights for Healthcare workers and Employers:

    - Recapture of all Immigrant Visas (Family & Employment) from 1998-2008. Unfortunately this does not include the largest numbers from the 1990s; (UPDATE- The IPC summary says that the recapture is 1992-2008, which makes more sense and is better)
    - STEM occupations exempt from the Immigrant Visa numbers.
    - Immediate relatives exempt from Immigrant Visas quotas (this could be enormous and would be responsible for slicing the immigrant visa retrogression backlogs);

    - Increases the per country visa cap, thus ameliorating the Indian, Chinese, and Mexican retrogressions;

    - Spouses and Children of LPRs are Immediate Relatives and therefore IV quota-free;

    - Employers have affirmative obligation to report recruiters working on their behalf and can be held liable for the crimes of the recruiter;

    - Before an employer can hire an H-1B worker, the employer must meet strict requirements for the recruitment of American workers. This would also likely help Healthcare Petitions since the Healthcare staffing shortages are well-documented.
    Updated from a prior post.
  2. The CIR Battle Begins

    by , 12-14-2009 at 06:37 AM (Chris Musillo on Nurse and Allied Health Immigration)
    by Chris Musillo
    On Tuesday, Rep. Luis Gutierrez will unveil his version of Comprehensive Immigration Reform, which he calls CIR ASAP (Comprehensive Immigration Reform for America's Security and Prosperity Act of 2009). CIR ASAP immediately has 10+ co-sponsors.

    Rep. Gutierrez has long been a pro-immigration stalwart. The initial version of CIR ASAP is likely more liberal than any future bill. The initial list of co-sponsors does not include any Republican members of Congress.

    It will be interesting to see if the Obama Administration comments on CIR ASAP or whether they wait for the Senate version of the bill to weigh in. It is assumed that Sen. Schumer's office has been working on a tamer version of CIR.

    Once CIR ASAP is published, I will review it for impact on Healthcare occupations. CIR ASAP comes on the heels of an impressive study by the Immigration Policy Center that highlights the critical role immigrants play on US healthcare.
  3. The Most Important Visa Bulletin Ever

    by , 12-11-2009 at 07:44 AM (Chris Musillo on Nurse and Allied Health Immigration)

    by Chris Musillo
    The January 2010 Visa Bulletin has just been released and it is the most important Visa Bulletin ever released. For the first time, the Department of State has projected future months' visa numbers.

    Based on current indications of demand, the best case scenarios for cut-off dates which will be reached by the end of FY-2010 are:

    China: July through October 2005
    India: February through early March 2005

    Worldwide: April through August 2005
    China: June through September 2003
    India: January through February 2002
    Mexico: January through June 2004
    Philippines: April through August 2005

    FY2010 runs until September 30, 2010. Based on these projections, EB3 priority dates should move to mid-2005 by the end of FY-2010. This means that there is a five year processing time for EB3 professions, such as most nursing positions. This is a horrendous processing time. Congress plainly has to enact positive legislation aimed at progressing processing times for shortage occupations such as nursing.

    The consolation is that intending immigrants can now plan for when their immigrant visa number will come. Those with EB3 priority dates beyond Summer 2005 should not expect their IV appointment in 2010. Charlie Oppenheim and the Visa Bulletin team deserve credit for producing these estimates. The fault for the long retrogression is with Congress, not with the DOS.

    The Visa Bulletin also contains an explanation of the visa number calculation that is required reading for anyone interested in immigrant visa allocation.
  4. H-1 Cap at 61,500 (12/8 Update)

    by , 12-09-2009 at 02:22 PM (Chris Musillo on Nurse and Allied Health Immigration)

    by Chris Musillo
    As of December 8, 2009, there are approximately 3,000 H-1Bs still available, which is when the USCIS last updated their page. MU is predicting that the H-1B cap will be reached by next week. Accordingly all MU clients are encouraged to send us their H-1B cap-subject filings ASAP.

    Employees that may need an H-1B visa include:

    - International students working on an EAD card under an OPT or CPT program after having attended a U.S. school;
    - International employees working on a TN may need an H-1B filed for them in order for them to pursue a permanent residency (green card) case;
    - Prospective international employees in another visa status e.g. H-4, L-2, J-1, F-1;- H-1B workers with a cap exempt organization; and
    - Prospective international employees currently living abroad.International workers who are working here in the U.S. on an H-1B visa with another cap-subject employer are not subject to H-1B cap. These cases are commonly referred to as "transfer" cases and may be filed at any time throughout the year.

    Many healthcare professions ordinarily qualify for H-1(b) status, including Physical Therapists, Occupational Therapists, Speech Language Therapists, and some Registered Nursing jobs.

    From USCIS:

    As of December 8, 2009, approximately 61,500 H-1B cap-subject petitions had been filed. USCIS has approved sufficient H-1B petitions for aliens with advanced degrees to meet the exemption of 20,000 from the fiscal year 2010 cap. Any H-1B petitions filed on behalf of an alien with an advanced degree will now count toward the general H-1B cap of 65,000. USCIS will continue to accept both cap-subject petitions and advanced degree petitions until a sufficient number of H-1B petitions have been received to reach the statutory limits, taking into account the fact that some of these petitions may be denied, revoked, or withdrawn.
  5. The DOL Takes One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

    by , 12-08-2009 at 10:21 AM (Chris Musillo on Nurse and Allied Health Immigration)

    by Chris Musillo

    The US Department of Labor (DOL) is about to roll out a new Prevailing Wage Determination (PWD) system that centralizes the process. Unfortunately, the DOL is unable to process electronic forms or even faxes. The new process calls for employers to mail in the PWD to the central office. The new regulation, which goes into effect on January 1, 2010, is available on-line.

    The PWD is a mandatory part of the immigrant visa process (permanent residency or green card). While employers must still pay a prevailing wage in the nonimmigrant process (e.g. H-1B), it is not a mandatory part of the nonimmigrant process; employers are afforded safe harbor benefits by using the PWD process in nonimmigrant matters.

    The present PWD process is straightforward. Employers (or their attorneys) file a PWD with the State Workforce Agency (SWA) that controls the worksite. This has not been ideal. Different states have different processing times, different forms, and different processes. For many years the DOL has contemplated a centralized program.

    PWDs will be submitted directly to the new National Prevailing Wage and Helpdesk Center (NPWHC) in Washington D.C. starting January 1, 2010. This should improve the process by adding consistency and uniformity.

    The new PWD is the Form ETA-9141, the Application for Prevailing Wage Determination. The PWD must be sent by mail or delivery service to: U.S. Department of Labor-ETA, National Prevailing Wage and Helpdesk Center, Attn: PWD Request; 1341 G Street, NW., Suite 201, Washington, DC 20005- 3142.

    The DOL indicated that it is developing an on-line PWD, but it did not commit to a date when the on-line PWD will be available. It is expected that until the on-line Form is ready, the PWD process will slow, perhaps quite considerably if past history is any guide. This is especially disheartening for green card cases, whose processing times have dramatically risen in recent years.
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