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Greg Siskind on Immigration Law and Policy


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Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has offered an amendment to the Department
of Homeland Security appropriations bill that would allocate 61,000
green cards unused in prior years to Schedule A nurses and physical
therapists. The vast majority of these green cards are likely to go to
nurses who will face new hurdles because they lack a non-immigrant visa
category and have not been able to take advantage of adjusting status
via the July Visa Bulletin. The flood of applications filed pursuant to
that bulletin will likely send the EB-3 category back several
additional years. Schumer's amendment (S.AMDT.2448) will likely be
voted on today.

I am urging readers to support this provision. Without it, nurses face several extra years of waiting. The Visa Bulletin fiasco was great news for many, but it is terrible news for many nurses. Even those in the US interested in applying to adjust status found that they were locked out because of the built in hold time in the posting process which meant that it is impossible to obtain a July priority date. A long term solution will be to exempt nurses from the green card cap since the nurse shortage in the US is expected to last for several decades, but this will help until we get that legislative relief.

Please call, fax and email your Senators and urge them to support 2448, the Schumer nursing amendment to the DHS appropriations bill. You can find your Senator's contact details at


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  1. Pending LC's Avatar
    You predict that EB-3 will likely go back several additional years. The July visa bulletin is terrible for some of us. Can you predict how many years EB-3 for India will backlog as a result of the July fiasco?
  2. osc's Avatar
    I feel the same way. I am so discouraged and feel that the wait line has just been moved from the wait to file Adjustment of Status to now waiting after you filed Adjustment of Status -- no positive outcome for us at all. The process has taken many years already -- and it looks like there will be so many more. We urgently need that unused green cards in previous years are made available to us.
  3. In Immigration Limbo's Avatar

    Do you know if the DHS appropriations bill is controversial? Does it need 60 votes or just a simple majority? I think it helps that it is Schumer proposing this amendment as he has the respect of many in both parties. Without this, the flow of nurses into the U.S. will slow to a trickle over the next several years as the retrogression caused by the flood of applications in July will be nasty. As you have pointed out, nurses have no way of getting into the country on an NIV. Also, an important point for others is that this will take thousands of nurses and their families out of EB-3 and free up visas for others.

    One minor point of disagreement I have with you is on the time it takes to become an RN, at least here in the United States. True, the actual program is 2 years, but that does not include the college level prerequisites you need (English, Microbiology, Chemistry, etc).It actually takes between 2 1/2 and 3 years for most people. Nurses outside the U.S. are almost always required to take a 4 year Bachelor of Science.
  4. MD's Avatar
    Hi Greg,

    If this gets enacted, will it cause the Philippines visa date to retrogress? How do you think dates are looking like for this country on October Bulletin?

  5. john's Avatar
    Great! So people with Master's degrees and PhD will wait for years due to July bulletin fiasco but nurses who can be easily trained in less than 2 years (the equivalent of VoTech) will gain 60,000 slots. And not to mention the fact that those 60,000 visas were unused due to government inefficiencies and the intent of the law was for them to be distributed among all employment categories. How is this fair? Why not give them a separate allotment of visas and return those 60,000 visas to whoever they were intended for to begin with?
  6. Nurse's Avatar
    When those so called Masters and PhD get sick, they need nurses to take care of them. Getting PhD don't make you disesase free. Even Bush don't have either masters or PhD. And again, masters in US is bunk as they give OPEN BOOK test. This is fair and should have been done long time ago to give relief to those poor nurses. If you have masters and PhD, go to another country if you don't like US. US welcomes Nurses and is in grave shortage. Think twice you post, great John.
  7. In Immigration Limbo's Avatar

    You say "but nurses who can be easily trained in less than 2 years (the equivalent of VoTech)"

    If it's so easy to become a nurse, why don't you do it? And if it's so easy to train them, why is there such a massive shortage? In my wife's class, out of the 50 students who started the program, only 18 ended up graduating due to the extremely demanding nature of the program, and a significant portion of those who do graduate are never able to pass the licensing exams. Most nurses now have BSN (4 year) degrees and the U.S. may be the only country left in the world that doesn't require it as entry level. As I stated previously, it takes between 2 1/2 and three years to get your diploma, NOT TWO YEARS. This doesn't include the years spent on waiting lists to even get in to the program.

    Why don't you educate yourself before making such ill informed statements. Nursing jobs cannot be done overseas or in Canada (like Microsoft) as tech jobs can. Of course there should be more visas for everyone, but tech workers and other skilled workers can enter the country on non immigrant visas, while nurses can not, even if they have a bachelors degree, as virtually 100% of them do.
  8. In Immigration Limbo's Avatar

    One more thing, I doubt people with PhD's will end up waiting for years as they are EB-1, which is rarely retrogressed. Get your facts straight dude BEFORE you post. Misinformation, like the kind you are spreading, hurts everyone.
  9. USC's Avatar
    Pending LC:

    Firstly, I sympathize with you. Actually, the July fiasco doesn't effect you one way or the other. The folks who file in July hold valid Labor Certifications issued at some point in the past. They are ahead of you anyway.

    Prior to the fiasco the effect of these already issued Labor Certs was not reflected in the priority dates of the visa bulletin. Now it will be. After these folks file and the backlog increases by several years it will be apparent to you, the employers & our Senators. Companies are also being squeezed by a lack of H1b numbers. Given this sitaution more employers will follow the example set by Microsoft and vote with their feet by moving to Canada. That is when Congress will be forced to address our broken system.

    We should support the nurses amendment because apparently relief will only happen a baby step at a time. The "clay pigeon" approarch to immigration reform if you will!
  10. David's Avatar
    Where can we get the real time information of this amendament?
  11. 2B's Avatar
    I totally disagree with the mentality of robbing Peter to pay Paul. The 61,000 unclaimed visas should be added back to their natural pool (i.e. "All" emplpyment based categories). Allocating these visas to a single category (i.e. nurses) is nothing but injustice to all those who were waiting in the queue due to retrogression and inefficiency of US Government agencies.
  12. Legal and waiting's Avatar
    How about stop fighting over measely 61K visas, and start fighting to increase totol number of visas for all?
  13. john's Avatar
    Limbo - not true. EB-1 needs outstanding credentials and many years of work after PhD. I know a bunch of people who graduated with PhDs from MIT in fields that need security clearance to find work after that. But since they don't have the green-card, they can't do it. So most of them end up on Wall St. in jobs that can only qualify you for EB-2 processing. Add to that India or China as country of origin, and you see how these people end up waiting forever, and some of them leaving for Canada or UK after wasting most of their best years hoping to advance in a career here. Now tell me how it is fair that those people who invested 10 to 20 years of their lives in education have to wait, while half-educated (in comparison) nurses (some of whom demonstrate very atrocious English on this forum) may get to skip in front of the line. I'm not against nurses but such poorly thought-out amendments are a slap in the face of people who have been living for many years in this country, who have families, have bought houses, and are still held hostage by the immigration system that we have.
  14. eb3-pakistan's Avatar
    Legal and Waiting - yeah! stop fighting about the stupid nurse and let's fight for increasing numbers for everybody. The problem is nobody fights about anything. Now nurses are the underdog - despite having no presence here at all - and so we should fight for them? I say no! Don't write letters for nurses or for DREAM act! Write letters for comprehensive reform that will solve everybody's problem! If not, then nurses will pass, DREAM will pass, and then the anti-immigrants will say "enough!" and the rest will left out.
  15. In Immigration Limbo's Avatar

    I agree that highly educated people should have fewer obstacles to immigration, but that's not really the issue here.

    EB-1 is almost never retrogressed, so the problem is not the number of visas available. Adding more visas wouldn't help folks who need security clearances. EB-2 is retrogressed for some countries on occasion, but the wait times are very minor compared to EB-3. Adding more visas will have a very small impact on the per country caps.

    It is clear that we are not going to have comprehensive immigration reform any time soon, but progress will be made in smaller steps. If we all complain every time something is proposed that doesn't help us individually, then we will just continue the the gridlock we are seeing in the senate.

    The reality is there is a life threatening shortage of nurses in the country and there is currently no way for foreign nurses to work in the U.S. without a green card. So, like it or not, this issue will continue to resurface and will not go away.
  16. RN's Avatar

    The visa they give out is for the need of the nation, not for the need of the PhD or nurses. So relax if Wall St. don't need that many Masters and PhD. Besides, EB-1 is never retrogressed. What will nurses retrogressed bring you? Now the nurse patient ratio in CA is 1:5, wait few more years without nurses supply, it can go to 1:10. At then the Master and PHD may want to fly back to their original country to get better care.
  17. Legal and waiting's Avatar
    eb3, if we will not write for nurses, they will not write for us. If we do not support legalization, we will lose 12 million voices that could help us. Everyone for themselves is a lose-lose proposition.
  18. Legal and waiting's Avatar
    "Adding more visas will have a very small impact on the per country caps."

    This is incorrect. All visas that are not used during the year are getting rediscributed for the categories that are oversubscribed. Thus, adding 100K EB visas will automatically go to first EB3 rest of the world and then to EB2 India/China/whatever. So, increasing the total number helps everybody except categories with hard-number limits, like 'other workers'.
  19. Nerse's Avatar
    john, sorry but not sympatize! MIT PhD were smart enough to go Wall St, then may be they can think something to fix their visa. If their so smart and capable, why not they just make million dollar and immigrate in investment category visa, eh?

    Nurses cannot do that! They poor and underprivilege but countries needs them! If there no nurse who is going to change your diper when you old, huh?
  20. In Immigration Limbo's Avatar

    Are you talking about the language of a specific amendment? It appears to me that it all depends on the language of an amendment as to how any recapture is redistributed.

    I am talking in general terms. I believe that no country can use more that 7% of the available visas, this would mean that if the EB categories get, say, 50,000 numbers, no county would get more than 3500 of those. That's what I meant by it would have a small impact on per country caps, especially for the PIC countries. There are probably at least that many nurses in EB-3 currently for each of the PIC countries, so Schedule A relief would probably help people from those countries every bit as much because nurses would come out of EB-3 and go into a new schedule A category. I think this is a point many people from those countries are missing.

    Sounds like schedule A may be dead, so this is probably moot anyway, at least for now.

    Actually, all this begs the question: why can't they just pump new numbers into the system for schedule A instead of recapturing? This way, maybe others would not feel like nurses are stealing their numbers. Does this require a constitutional amendment or something ;-), or perhaps they are just scared of the NumbersUSA and or union protectionist types.
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