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Chris Musillo on Nurse and Allied Health Immigration

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  1. DHS Secretary says Obama "Fully Committed" to CIR

    by , 11-15-2009 at 04:00 PM (Chris Musillo on Nurse and Allied Health Immigration)
    by Chris Musillo
    Regular readers of this blog know that the best chance for liberalization of Schedule A visas - registered nurses and physical therapists -- is for the language of HR 2536 to be folded into next year's Comprehensive Immigration Reform. Sen. Schumer has taken the lead on this issue and is rumored to be working on a CIR bill.

    Nevertheless there has been some skepticism about whether CIR will ever be introduced. Some, like Rep. Gutierrez are getting anxious.

    This week we saw the best indication that CIR is still on schedule. In prepared remarks to the Center for American Progress, DHS Secretary Napolitano said,

    "the President continues to be fully committed to reforming our immigration laws, and why he asked me to take a lead role in this effort."

    Sec. Napolitano's plan calls for a "three-legged stool". She continued,

    "Let me be clear: when I talk about "immigration reform," I'm referring to what I call the "three-legged stool" that includes 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."

    Legal changes to employment-based immigration, including improved legal flows for workers, is the only way that Schedule A visa reform can happen. We've seen a few indications that CIR is still set to move early next year. The Secretary's remarks are the clearest indicated yet.
  2. December 2009 Visa Bulletin

    by , 11-11-2009 at 08:52 AM (Chris Musillo on Nurse and Allied Health Immigration)
    by Chris Musillo
     
    At some point MU expects that the Visa Bulletin numbers will progress in a meaningful way, but this month is not the month.

    The December 2009 Visa Bulletin has no change in any Employment Based Visa Category, except for a slight uptick in India EB3. In the November 2009 Visa Bulletin showed 22APR01. It moved a week.

    EB1: All Current
    EB2: All Current, except China (01APR05) and India (22JAN05)
    EB3: All 01JUN02, except India (01May01).

    The one silver lining may be that, unlike in November 2009, the December 2009 did not include an explanation in the bulletin for the lack of progression in the dates. Here is November's explanation:

    E. EMPLOYMENT PREFERENCE VISA AVAILABILITY
    The receipt of demand from Citizenship and Immigration Services Offices has far exceeded their earlier indications of cases eligible for immediate processing. As a result, it has been necessary to hold most of the Employment cut-off dates for November. At this time, it is not possible to provide any estimates regarding future cut-off date movements.

  3. Increased Demand for Advanced Practice Nurses

    by , 11-06-2009 at 08:25 AM (Chris Musillo on Nurse and Allied Health Immigration)
    by Chris Musillo
     
    The NY Times Prescriptions blog is an excellent source for information on the Healthcare debate that is raging in the US. Congress and the President presently are debating who will qualify for health issuance, how the insurance will be funded, and how health services will be delivered.

    Today's Prescriptions' post highlights that Nurse Practitioners will surely be a growing field in the US. As noted in the NYT blog, "the American Academy of Family Practitioners projects a shortfall of 40,000 physician generalists -- family practitioners, pediatricians, general internists and geriatricians -- by 2020, even without significant changes to the current health care system." Other graduate level nursing education is also likely to be in greater demand in the next decade.

    Because of this demand, and because of the relatively easy H-1B nonimmigrant visa option for Advance Practice Nurses, the safest path to US immigration is to obtain Advance Practice Certification. For staffing companies and recruiters, Advance Practice Nursing is the next need.
  4. H-1B Cap at 53,800

    by , 11-03-2009 at 01:01 PM (Chris Musillo on Nurse and Allied Health Immigration)
    by Chris Musillo
    The H-1B Petition is still a valid option for many healthcare workers including PTs, OTs, SLPs, Pharmacists and some nurses. Seven months into this term's fiscal year quota, the H-1B cap has not been reached. But that may not be the case for long.

    The USCIS has reported a jump in cap-subject approvals in October. As of October 30, 2009, approximately 53,800 H-1B cap-subject petitions and approximately 20,000 petitions qualifying for the advanced degree cap exemption have been filed. The Masters quota cap effectively has been reached, although a few "extra" numbers may be released if the USCIS denies some pending Masters cap-subject cases.

    Going forward, any H1-B petitions filed on behalf of an alien with an advanced degree will now count toward the general H1-B 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.

    Also, the USCIS just has announced that it will continue to accept the old Form G-28.
  5. U.S. Jobs Outlook (Finally) Improving

    by , 10-29-2009 at 06:16 AM (Chris Musillo on Nurse and Allied Health Immigration)


    Post written by Cindy Unkenholt


    According to an article earlier this week that was featured on CNNMoney.com, the National Association for Business Economics is reporting that for the first time in nearly two years more employers are planning to hire, rather than cut, staff. Similarly, it was noted that more companies increased their capital spending than the number that cut spending. Unemployment is still at historically high levels, but this report is one of many signals that the worst may be over.

    While this is clearly good news -- demand for Physical Therapy, Registered Nursing, Occupation Therapist, Speech Langauge Pathologists and other healthcare occupations still expect to be in great demand -- a word of caution may also be in order. An improving job market in the U.S. will likely eventually be reflected in an increase in H-1B petitions filed with the USCIS. Among the top twenty occupations predicted for significant growth were several in IT and healthcare, including: Systems Engineers, Physical Therapists, Computer/Network Security Consultants, Software Developers, and Occupational Therapists. These occupations have been common users of the H-1B program in the United States. Physical Therapists, for example, have long been designated by the U.S. Department of Labor as a national shortage occupation and recruited from abroad.

    The USCIS last updated the 2010 H-1B "Cap Count" on September 25, 2009. At that time, there had been approximately 46,700 H-1B petitions filed towards the annual quota of 65,000. Most casual observers see that this is only a few thousand more than were filed as of April 1, 2009, the first day employers were able to file H-1B petitions for the current fiscal year. However, insiders believe that while the economy has significantly reduced the number of H-1B petitions being filed. There has also been a large increase in denials which has impacted the overall number of petitions counted against the quota.



    As the U.S. economy and job market continue to improve, the number of H-1B filings may begin to steadily increase. In the short term, there appears to be no cause for alarm. However, if you anticipate any key hires or significant staffing increases, it may be prudent to keep your eye on the cap count in the first quarter of 2010.

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