RETROGRESSION AND THE US NURSE IMMIGRATION PROCESS
MU receives many emails about the nurse immigration process and retrogression. We have prepared this article explaining these issues.
Registered Nurses must clear many hurdles before they are eligible for a US immigrant visa (Green card). The nurse must get into a good university and work hard to take and pass their exams. They must then have their education evaluated against the American standard.
Once that happens the nurse must pass the US licensing exam: the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX). This is the same examination taken by thousands of US nurses every year. Foreign-trained nurses must also take and pass an English fluency examination. All of these items must be evaluated by an independent organization, the Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools (CGFNS).
Lastly, the nurse must find a US employer who is willing to extend an offer of employment where the wage is not less than the average of similarly employed nurses. Once the offer is extended and the nurse accepts the offer, she is fully eligible to have a US EB-3 green card filed on her behalf.
The lawyer works with the nurse, the employer, and the recruiter to properly file a green card petition. This establishes the nurse's "priority date." The green card petition is reviewed by a qualified USCIS officer who may ask for further evidence in the event that there are additional data needed to approve the petition. Finally, the EB-3 green card petition approved!
And then the nurse waits. And waits. And waits. Presently the US Consulates and Embassies are allowed to issue an EB-3 green card to a nurse whose green card petition was filed with a priority date from early 2006 - essentially a six year wait.