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Chris Musillo on Nurse and Allied Health Immigration

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  1. Politics in the Spotlight

    by , 08-12-2009 at 07:13 AM (Chris Musillo on Nurse and Allied Health Immigration)
     
    by Chris Musillo
     
    President Obama has just announced that the CIR bill, which is long-desired by immigration reformists, will be pushed off until 2010. The President remains committed to the cause but he is concerned that his efforts on health care, global warming, and the financial crisis will be hampered by another major issue such as immigration. This strikes a blow against the healthcare immigration community, who was hoping that a CIR bill could be the force behind liberalized healthcare visa reform.

    The other political issue in the spotlight is the resignation of Sen. Sen. Martinez (R-FL) and Sen. Bailey-Hutchinson (R-TX). On one hand these two Senators have been general supporters of immigration reform and so their resignations are unwelcome. Sen. Bailey-Hutchison particularly has been a leader on healthcare visa reform.

    On the other hand, since both are Republicans, their influence in Senatorial matters is negligible at this point. Also, since they both are from states with increasing immigration populations, it is expected that any replacements will be unlikely to hinder any CIR legislation. To do so would alienate their constituency.
  2. My thoughts on the chances of retrogression relief

    by , 08-06-2009 at 07:12 AM (Chris Musillo on Nurse and Allied Health Immigration)

    As readers of my blog surely are aware, retrogression has made it difficult for nurses to enter the US on the immigrant visa because of the long processing times. There is an excellent piece of legislation that, if passed, will create a special immigrant visa category for nurses. The legislation is H.R.2536 - Emergency Nursing Supply Relief Act and is sponsored by Rep. Wexler (D-FL). The bill should allow for nurses to enter the US in about one year's time once the program is up and running.
    The key question is whether the ENSRA will ever be acted upon. Presently, the legislation, like all immigration related legislation that isn't deemed critical, has an effective hold on it. Congress would like to address all special immigration at once in a massive Comprehensive Immigration Reform bill (CIR). And they would like to do it this fall. Sen. Schumer is taking the lead. The hope is that Sen. Schumer (D-NY) can craft a piece of legislation that will not suffer the same fate as CIR did when it was last offered.
    The good news for those in favor of increased nurse visa numbers is that Sen. Schumer has long been a champion of increased nurse visa numbers. In 2005 he led the charge for a special Nurse Exempt visa that was signed into law in May 2005. That bill provided 50,000 visas for nurses and their families. Sen. Schumer is expected to introduce the bill this fall. Because of Sen. Schumer's past work on liberalized nurse visa numbers, I am optimistic that he will either encompass Rep. Wexler's ENSRA or use the principles behind the ENSRA in his CIR.
  3. End of the Summer Session

    by , 08-04-2009 at 03:18 PM (Chris Musillo on Nurse and Allied Health Immigration)
    The US House has adjourned and will reconvene on Tuesday, September 8. The Senate will adjourn at the end of this week, and return on Monday, September 7. No immigration-related activities are planned for this week, as Sen. Schumer has cancelled the employment-based immigration hearing. The hearing would have spoken to supply shortages. Sen. Schumer has long been a nurse visa bill champion.

    When the two houses of Congress return there will be a big push to finalize the Healthcare bill, which isn't about immigration, but likely will lead to increased demand for healthcare services in the US. How Congress deals with liberalized healthcare visa rules is an open question at this point. The next few months will shape America's nurse visa policy for years to come.
  4. Pres. Arroyo Meets Pres. Obama

    by , 08-01-2009 at 07:14 AM (Chris Musillo on Nurse and Allied Health Immigration)
    Yesterday Philippines President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo's met with US President Barack Obama in Washington DC. Ms. Arroyo was the first Southeast Asian President to be greeted at the White House. Ms. Arroyo sought to discuss economic, diplomatic and national security issues.

    Philippine Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Q. Pimentel Jr urged Ms. Arroyo to press Mr. Obama on nurse immigration issues. GMANews reports that Sen. Pimentel said that if Ms. Arroyo can get "a quota of 20,000 nurses a year, that would be a great economic bonanza for our nurses and their families."

    Ms Arroyo's other engagements on Friday called for meetings with Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, who has repeatedly called for increased nursing and healthcare visa quotas.


    Note on the Death of Fmr. Pres. Aquino. As Philippine readers of this Blog surely know, Former President Corazon Aquino died Friday (Saturday in the Philippines). The Musillo Unkenholt firm recognizes the great leadership that Ms. Aquino played in the "people power" movement in the 1980s and would like Philippine readers to know that we will keep the Aquino family and the Philippine people in our thoughts and prayers.
  5. H-1 cap update and a note

    by , 07-27-2009 at 05:42 AM (Chris Musillo on Nurse and Allied Health Immigration)
    The USCIS' latest H-1B count update shows that as of July 10, 2009, approximately 44,900 H-1B cap-subject petitions had been filed. In mid-May the USCIS reported that approximately 45,000 H-1B cap-subject petitions had been filed. A recent article in the IT trade journal Computerworld explains that the retreat in H-1B numbers is due to the fact that USCIS is actually denying more cases than they are receiving. Anecdotal reports are that immigration attorneys are seeing many more denials than in years past.

    For the healthcare occupations this may be a good sign. Physical and Occupational Therapy positions are being approved without much incident, now that the Masters Degree issue has been resolved. The USCIS seems to be willing to accept the argument that certain nursing positions are eligible for H-1B visas as well, provided that the proffered positions are normally ones for which bachelor degrees are required.

    Note- Our MU email server is having some problems. We should have it resolved in the next few days. If you have emailed me and I haven't responded, odds are that I did not receive it. Once the email is fixed, you should re-send the email.
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