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Chris Musillo on Nurse and Allied Health Immigration

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  1. H-1B Cap Running Out

    by , 12-04-2009 at 09:49 AM (Chris Musillo on Nurse and Allied Health Immigration)

    by Chris Musillo

    The latest H-1B cap numbers show yet another dramatic uptick in filings. There are approximately 6,000 H-1Bs still available as of November 27, which is when the USCIS last updated their page.

    MU is predicting that the H-1B cap will be reached in the next 2 weeks, perhaps sooner. Accordingly all MU clients are encouraged to send us their H-1B cap-subject filings ASAP.


    USCIS is allowed to approve 65,000 H-1B visas, but they have to withhold 6,800 visas for the special Singapore and Chile H-1B1 visas. This leaves 58,200 H-1B visas

    USCIS then adds back any unused Singapore and Chile H-1B1 visas. In most years, this is 6,500+ visas. In other words there are only a few hundred Singapore/Chile H-1B1s used every year. So then we add 57,800 + 6,500 and this means that the actual H-1B cap is around 64,000 H-1Bs.
    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 November 27, 2009, approximately 58,900 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.
  2. CGFNS Reauthorized

    by , 12-01-2009 at 12:50 PM (Chris Musillo on Nurse and Allied Health Immigration)
    by Chris Musillo
     
    CGFNS was reauthorized by the Department of Homeland Security to issue Visa Screens and Healthcare Worker Certificates, effective November 19, 2009. The reissuance is valid for seven years and covers all seven occupations covered under INA 212(a)(5)(C). The Seven occupations are: registered and licensed vocational nurses, physical therapists, speech language pathologists, audiologists, medical technologists, medical technicians, occupational therapists and physicians assistants.

    The full press release is available on CGFNS' website.
  3. H-1B Cap at 56,900

    by , 11-24-2009 at 11:33 AM (Chris Musillo on Nurse and Allied Health Immigration)
    by Chris Musillo
     
    The H-1B cap of 65,000 may be reached before the end of the year. Historically, H-1B cap-subject cap filings have increased as we have gotten closer to the H-1B cap limit. MU employers are encouraged to ready any H-1B cap-subject as soon as possible.

    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 November 20, 2009, approximately 56,900 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.
  4. End of the H-1C

    by , 11-19-2009 at 02:44 PM (Chris Musillo on Nurse and Allied Health Immigration)

    by Chris MusilloOn December 20, 2009, the H-1C Nursing Relief for Disadvantaged Areas visa program will expire unless Congress takes further action. All H1C petitions must be filed before the December 20, 2009 expiration. At this point, it is unexpected that Congress will take the necessary action. The program was first authorized in 1999 and was last reauthorized in 2006. The H-1C is an H-1B-like visa program specifically for Registered Nurses.

    While the H-1C program could be an excellent visa option for some, legacy regulation and interpretation has limited the application of the H-1C to just 14 facilities in the United States. While the H-1C expiration may be devastating for these 14 facilities, it will have no effect on any other facilities in the United States.

  5. Embracing Sec. Napolitano's Message

    by , 11-17-2009 at 07:22 AM (Chris Musillo on Nurse and Allied Health Immigration)

    by Chris Musillo
    Last week DHS Secretary Napolitano implied that immigration reform is the next challenge that the administration will tackle. The Secretary's vision of Comprehensive Immigration Reform is a "three legged stool," where the three legs are:

    - a commitment to serious and effective enforcement;
    - improved legal flows for families and workers; and
    - a firm but fair way to deal with those who are already here.

    It is the second leg of the chair that appeals to those interested in liberalized Schedule A visa numbers. A law such as HR 2536 will allow for a steady flow of internationally trained nurses and physical therapists and also compel the recruitment community to fund domestic nurse education programs through additional filing fees for visas.

    The popular press is beginning to pick up on Sec. Napolitano's message. In the last few days, I have seen these stories and editorials:

    New York Times: Their Future Is Ours

    Washington Times: Will Democrats Err in Immigration Reforms?

    WSJ: Immigration Reform is back on the table (confirms that Sen. Schumer's office is working on producing a "firm but fair bill")

    Dallas Morning News: Time hasn't made immigration reform easier
    Newsweek: Rosier Prospects for Immigration Reform
    McClatchy: Immigration Reform is Long Overdue
    All of the editorials and articles focus on the third leg: a firm but fair way to deal with those who are already here. That aim is important. But the failings of the Immigration and Reform Control Act (IRCA) of 1986 were that it failed to deal with the immigration problems on an on-going basis. IRCA solved the problems of the past, but did nothing to solve the problems of the future.

    Toward that end, Sen. Schumer and his staff reportedly are also rewriting part of the Immigration and Nationality Act to provide for improved worker flows, including perhaps a progressive nurse visa policy in line with HR 2536. Legislators and the media should keep in mind that the stool has three legs.

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