MU Law has had a few follow-up questions about the H-1C visa that waspassed by the House of Representatives. We've put together this FAQ to answer a few common questions:
Q1. When does the new H-1C come into effect?
A1. The Senate must still pass the H-1C reauthorization into law and then the President must sign it. There is no set timetable for this to happen. In fact, the H-1C reauthorization may never come into law.
Q2. Will individuals who hold current H-1C visas be able to extend their H-1C status?
A2. They will provided that they have not used up their allotment of H-1C time. Approved nurses will be eligible for to be in H-1C status for 6 years.
Q3. Why are only 14 hospitals eligible?
A3. The H-1C law was crafted in a way to limit sponsorship to certain hospitals that meet a strict set of criteria established in the 1990s. The hospital must be located in a "Health Professional Shortage Area" as of March 31, 1997, have "at least 190 acute care beds," at "least 35 [percent] of [the facility's] acute care inpatient days reimbursed by Medicare," and "at least 28 [percent] of [the facility's] acute care inpatient days reimbursed by Medicaid." Other hospitals may be eligible; however, the list of the 14 hospitals that qualify has not been updated in recent years. In a meeting with USCIS and CIS Ombudsman (Oct. 28, 2008), USCIS indicated that, to date, only one hospital that is not on identified on the list of 14 HPSA hospitals has applied for an H-1C nurse and that case is currently pendingadditional review.
Q4. Is there any H-1C cap, like the H-1B visa?
A4. Yes. The H-1C is limited to 300 nurses. However the cap has never been reached. According to USCIS, no H-1C visas were approved in FY 2006, 49 were approved in FY 2007, and, approximately 110 were approved in FY 2008.
Q5. Which 14 hospitals qualify for sponsorship?
A5. Here are the 14 hospitals:
1. Beaumont Regional Medical Center, Beaumont, TX
2. Beverly Hospital, Montebello, CA
3. Doctors Medical Center, Modesto, CA
4. Elizabeth General Medical Center, Elizabeth, NJ
5. Fairview Park Hospital, Dublin, GA
6. Lutheran Medical Center, St. Louis, MO
7. McAllen Medical Center, McAllen, TX
8. Mercy Medical Center, Baltimore, MD
9. Mercy Regional Medical Center, Laredo, TX
10. Peninsula Hospital Center, Far Rockaway, NY
11. Southeastern Regional Medical Center, Lumberton, NC
12. Southwest General Hospital, San Antonio, TX
13. St. Bernard Hospital, Chicago, IL
14. Valley Baptist Medical Center, Harlingen, TX