Wednesday, August 24, 2016

IMMIGRANTS ARE “IMPERATIVE” TO CURE US HEALTHCARE STAFFING SHORTAGES

A new report by the Institute for Immigration Research declares that immigrant labor plays an “outsized and imperative role in the US healthcare system.  The Advance Healthcare Network reports that the IIR reports these figures of the population are immigrant labor:
  • 28% of physicians and surgeons
  • 40% of medical scientists in pharmaceutical research and development
  • 50% of medical scientists in biotechnology in states with a strong biotechnology sector
  • 22% of nursing, psychiatric and home health aides
  • 15% of registered nurses 

This is in spite of the fact that only 13% of the US population is foreign-born.  The IIR is funded by George Mason University. 

The AHN write-up quotes Monica Gomez Isaac, executive director of George Mason’s IIR.  Ms. Isaac is very positive about the contributions that immigrants make in these fields, but she is incorrect in this quote:  
“In the instance of nurses, the lack of an international standard for qualifying registered nurses is absent. The varying degrees of training based on the standards of individual nations make it complex to recruit and fill nursing shortages.”

This is untrue for two reasons.  First, there is an international standard for qualifying nurses.  All US nurses must pass the NCLEX-RN Exam, which is offered all around the world.  Second, the training standards are not the reason for the lack of foreign-born nurses.  Between 15-20,000 internationally-trained RNs are registering to take the NCLEX-RN exam every year.  In the mid-2000s, that number was even higher. 

The problem is the immigrant visa retrogression.  A fully-qualified nurse from the Philippines takes 3-5 to get her immigrant visa.  A fully-qualified Indian nurse takes 10+ years.  If the US Congress would update the immigration laws to allow in more nurses, the bottleneck would fade.

Friday, August 19, 2016

FORTY-SEVEN IMMIGRANT ATHLETES COMPETE FOR TEAM US IN RIO

As the Olympics in Rio come to a close, athletes for Team USA - both native and foreign born - have represented the red, white, and blue.  The US sent 555 athletes to the Olympic Games in 27 sports.  Forty-seven of Team USA’s competitors were born outside the United States!

Notable immigrant athletes on Team USA included:
  • Danell Leyva (gymnastics) was born in Cuba and defected to Miami, Florida with his mom and sister when he was only two years old.  Danell won two silver medals at the Rio Olympics on the men’s parallel bars and the men’s horizontal bar.
  • Meb Keflezighi (track and field) is one of the most decorated US marathoners of all time.  Born in Eritrea, he moved to the US at the age of 11.  In 2014 he won the Boston Marathon becoming the first American to do so since 1983. Meb will run in the men’s marathon on Sunday, August 21, becoming the oldest US Olympic runner of all time
  • Nick Delpopolo (judo) was born in Serbia and Montenegro; he spent the first few years of his life in an orphanage until he was adopted by a couple from New Jersey
  • Paul Kipkemoi Chelimo (track and field) was born in Kenya, but became a US citizen after enlisting in the US Army and being a part of the World Class Athlete Program.   Paul, along with two other foreign-born US athletes, Bernard Lagat and Hassan Mead, will run in the men’s 500m final on Saturday, August 20
  • Kyrie Irving (basketball) was born in Melbourne, Australia while his father pursued a professional career in an Aussie league.  He holds dual citizenship and was asked to play on the Australian national team, but chose to play for Team USA.


Congratulations to all the athletes on Team USA and too all the Olympians!

Monday, August 15, 2016

MU LAW CINCINNATI SEMINAR: IMMIGRATION SOLUTIONS FOR A TIGHT LABOR MARKET

Musillo Unkenholt LLC (MU Law) is proud to co-sponsor a Cincinnati seminar with Graydon Head, Cincinnati’s premier full-service law firm.  The event will be held September 13, 2016 on the campus of Xavier University.  The program runs from 7:30 - 10:00 AM and will feature a panel of local Cincinnati business leaders.  The seminar is free to attend.

Join Graydon Head & Musillo Unkenholt as they lead an informative conversation about using immigration to solve staffing supply shortages - and the legal and practical issues that may arise. A panel of experts who have dealt with these situations will share their struggles and successes on using immigration solutions in a tight labor market.

If you are interested in attending, please RSVP to Sam Rossell, 513.629.2727 or via email

This program is valid for 1.5 PDCs for the SHRM-CP or SHRM-SCP. For more information about certification or recertification, please visit www.shrmcertification.org.

Monday, August 8, 2016

SEPTEMBER 2016 VISA BULLETIN

The Department of State has just issued the September 2016 Visa Bulletin.  This is the twelfth and final Visa Bulletin of Fiscal Year 2016. As the fiscal year winds down, the last few Visa Bulletins always have some surprises.  

This Visa Bulletin is no exception.  Some dates progressed favorably.  Other dates retrogressed.  Rest assured that these changes are temporary. 

Readers should rest assured that everything will go back to "normal" on October 1, 2016, the start of the next fiscal year.

September 2016 Visa Bulletin

Final Action Dates

Applications with these dates may be approved for their Green Card (Permanent Residency card).

Employ-
ment
based
All Charge-
ability 
Areas Except
Those Listed
CHINA-
mainland 
born
INDIA
MEXICO
PHILIPPINES
1st
C
01JAN10
01JAN10
C
C
2nd
01FEB14
01JAN10
22FEB05 
01FEB14
01FEB14
3rd
01MAY16 
01JAN10
15FEB05
01MAY16 
01JUL10


MU Law Analysis

All Other:  The EB-2 has been current for many years.  The retrogression of the EB-2 category simply means that the DOS approved more cases than it expected to in FY2016.  The EB-3 moved forward by two months.  These dates continue to be very favorable.  We expect that All Other dates will continue to be positive for the foreseeable future, starting on October 1, 2016.

China:   These dates mirror the August 2016's Visa Bulletin.  We expect positive movement in October 2016.

India:  EB-3 moved ahead by ten weeks as did EB-2.  The DOS is trying to make sure that all available Indian immigrant visas are used.  

Mexico: Mirrors All Other in all aspects.

Philippines: EB-3 moved ahead by ten months, into 2010.  This is what we have expected.  (Our note from May 2016: "MU Law believes that Philippines EB-3 will continue to steadily move forward in the coming months. We expect it to move into 2009 in the by early summer, and may reach 2010 by the end of this fiscal year.").  The Feb 2014 retrogression date for EB-2 should be of no concern for those in this category.  Philippine EB-2 will be current in October 2016.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

OPT STEM EXTENSION DEADLINE AUGUST 8

Students who currently hold an OPT STEM Extension card, valid for 17 months, must apply before August 8, 2016 if the student wishes to request an additional 7 months, under the new 24 month STEM Extension Program created earlier this year.

On March 11, 2016 the USCIS published the rules of a new, expanded STEM Extension OPT program.  The new STEM Extension went into effect on May 10, 2016.  Among other changes, the program extended the length of the STEM Extension from 17 months to 24 months.  For an outline of the new requirements for students and employers under the updated STEM Extension Program, please see our previous blog post from May 4, 2016.   

The USCIS outlined a series of transition rules for three primary groups of students impacted by the implementation of the new STEM Extension Program:

1.       Students on a 17 month STEM Extension can request the full 24 month STEM extension period, if they apply for a new OPT card before August 8, 2016.  If the student elects not to ask for the full 24 month STEM extension, the student should complete the 17 month STEM OPT Period under the old rules.

2.       Students with a pending 17 month STEM Extension should receive an RFE requesting the new form I-983 Training Plan.  An RFE Response amends the application to the full 24 months STEM extension period.

3.       Students on a 12 month OPT expiring after June 1 must file the STEM Extension under the 24 month program.

Students eligible for OPT STEM Extensions are in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics fields.  Please check with your student advisor if you qualify for a STEM Extension based on your field of study. 

Monday, August 1, 2016

CLINTON ON IMMIGRATION

PART TWO OF SERIES: THE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES ON IMMIGRATION REFORM

HILLARY CLINTON


1.       Comprehensive Immigration Reform (CIR) – Ms. Clinton promises to introduce CIR, including a pathway to US Citizenship, within the first 100 days of her presidency.

2.       End the Three/Ten Year Bar – Under current immigration law, those who overstay the end-date on their I-94 card by six months to a year are barred from returning to the US or applying for any type of visa for three years.  Those who overstay by more than a year are barred from returning to the US or applying for a visa for ten years.  Ms. Clinton seeks eliminate this penalty.

3.       Defend DACA and DAPA – President Obama’s Executive Action created the DACA and DAPA programs.  These programs allow individuals who were brought to the US as children or have US Citizen children to apply for a stay of deportation and work authorization.  Most recently, the US Supreme Court’s 4-4 tied decision left in place an appeals court ruling which blocked these programs.  Ms. Clinton believes these programs are within the President’s authority and intends to continue fighting for their implementation.

4.       Expand Deferred Action – A grant of Deferred Action is essentially a promise on the part of the US government not to deport the grantee.  Ms. Clinton intends to expand Deferred Action for those with sympathetic cases, for example: those with a history of service and contribution to their communities or those who experience extreme labor violations.

5.       Enforce Immigration Laws Humanely – Secretary Clinton states immigration enforcement should be humane, targeted, and effective.  Ms. Clinton wants to focus enforcement resources on detaining and deporting individuals who are a threat to public safety.

6.       End Family Detention – Ms. Clinton plans to end the detention of parents and children who arrive in the US fleeing desperate circumstances.  Secretary Clinton also intends to close all private (non-government) immigration detention centers.

7.       Expand Health Insurance Coverage for Immigrant Families – Secretary Clinton wants to allow individuals of any immigration status to purchase health insurance on the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) Exchanges.

8.       Promote Naturalization – Ms. Clinton will expand fee waivers, increase English-language proficiency programs, and boost outreach and education to encourage individuals to apply for Naturalization.


Please note this post summarizes only the points available on Secretary Clinton’s website regarding immigration reform.  Speeches, interviews, or other materials are not captured here.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

TRUMP ON IMMIGRATION

PART ONE OF SERIES: THE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES ON IMMIGRATION REFORM

DONALD TRUMP

Donald Trump’s immigration reform plan is centered on three principles:
1.       A nation without borders is not a nation. 
2.       A nation without laws is not a nation. 
3.       A nation that does not serve its own citizens is not a nation. 

BORDERS

The most well-known of Mr. Trump’s immigration proposals is to build a wall on the Mexican/American border and ensure Mexico pays for this wall.  Mr. Trump proposes to obtain this payment from Mexico by:
-          Impounding all remittance payments derived from wages earned by workers who are illegally in the US
-          Increase fees on all visas issued to Mexican CEOs and diplomats
-          Increase fees on all border crossing cards
-          Increase fees on all TN visas
-          Increase fees at ports of entry to the US from Mexico

LAWS

Mr. Trump intends to implement the following actions to ensure current American immigration laws are enforced:
-          Triple the number of Immigration Customs and Enforcement (ICE) Officers
-          ICE Officers will work with local gang task forces; ICE Officers must place detainers on any undocumented immigrants they encounter in the jails and prisons
-          Require e-verify for all employers; currently e-verify is an optional government program
-          Mandatory deportation of all foreign nationals with any criminal history
-          Discontinue catch-and-release programs; at present individuals apprehended at the border are detained and then paroled into the US until an immigration hearing.  Mr. Trump proposes detention until the hearing.
-          Individuals who overstay the term of their I-94 card will be subject to criminal penalties
-          Cut off federal grants which fund any sanctuary city programs
-          End birthright citizenship; children of immigrants born on US soil would no longer be US Citizens

SERVE ITS OWN CITIZENS

Mr. Trump contends that our immigration policy has destroyed America’s middle class.  As a result, his reform proposals seek to control the admission of new low-earning workers to the US.  Mr. Trump’s specific policy proposals for long-term reform include:
-          Increase prevailing wages for H-1Bs
-          Require companies to hire American workers first
-          Require immigrants to prove, before entering the US, that they can pay for their own housing, healthcare, and other needs
-          Eliminate the J-1 training visa and replace it with a resume bank for inner city youth
-          Increase standards for admission of refugees and asylum-seekers
-          Immigration moderation: before new green cards are issued to foreign workers abroad, there will be a pause where employers will have to hire unemployed workers already in the US

Please note this post summarizes only the points available on Mr. Trump’s website regarding immigration reform.  Speeches, interviews, or other materials are not captured here.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

PROMINENT BANKERS SAY IMMIGRATION REFORM IS THE KEY TO U.S. ECONOMIC GROWTH

Two prominent US bankers recently spoke up in the debate over immigration reform; both stated that immigration is critical to the continued recovery and economic growth of the United States.

Dallas Fed President, Robert Kaplan, said the US population is aging and so participation in the US labor force will decline, creating difficulties for the US economy.  We can do something about this, said Kaplan: “One thing is we could have immigration reform in the United States so that people can come here easily and we can continue to grow the workforce in a safe and secure way.”  Kaplan acknowledged that immigration reform is a difficult debate, but also a necessary one.

Also last week, Minneapolis Fed President, Neel Kashkari, said immigration reform is a critical component of a return to faster economic growth.  “My personal view,” said Kashkari, “is that we should utilize immigration to our advantage as a source for economic growth.  If we have a population that’s not growing it’s much harder to have economic growth.”

The Federal Reserve System is the central bank of the United States. The Federal Reserve has three primary functions:
·         Monetary Policy
·         Banking Supervision
·         Financial Services

The Federal Reserve, also called “The Fed” is led by a Board of Governors in Washington, DC.  A network of 12 Federal Reserve Banks and 24 branches make up the Federal Reserve System under the general oversight of the Board of Governors.  Each of the 12 Reserve Banks serves its region of the country and is led by a Fed President.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

CGFNS NAMES FILIPINO AS NEW DIRECTOR OF EVALUATIONS

CGFNS has just announced that Jasper Tolarba, DNP, RN, NEA-BC will be their new Director of Credentials Evaluation Services.  Dr. Tolarba will manage the operations of the Credentialing Service programs.  From their press release:

Dr. Tolarba will be responsible for managing the operations of the Credentialing Service programs including VisaScreen®, Credentials Evaluation Service and International Consultants of Delaware. Along with CGFNS’ Executive Team, Dr. Tolarba will establish and coordinate the Foreign Educated Professionals Advisory Group, providing a more robust voice on a global scale.

Dr. Tolarba’s alma mater, Bicol Univerity in Legazpi City, Philippines, also highlighted the appointment.  Bicol notes that Dr. Tolarba earned his first bachelors and masters from Bicol and also taught nursing there from 2002-2004, whereupon he moved to Cincinnati and enrolled at Xavier University.  He later obtained his Ph.D from Yale University in Connecticut.  Bicol also notes that Dr. Tolarba is the first foreign-educated nurse to join CGFNS leadership team.

Friday, July 15, 2016

WHAT DOES THE AUGUST VISA BULLETIN MEAN? SOME ANSWERS TO FAQs

Musillo Unkenholt has received many emails and phone calls from people who have questions about the August 2016 Visa Bulletin.  We have put together this FAQ for all readers of the MU Law Blog.

Q.  Why do the August and September Visa Bulletins always have unusual progressions and retrogressions?

A. These two Visa Bulletins are the final two Visa Bulletins of the US Fiscal Year, which runs from October 1 – September 30.  The USDOS must make sure that it uses all 140,000 employment based immigrant visas.  If it does not use all 140,000 immigrant visas, then the visas do not roll over into the next fiscal year.  On the other hand, the USDOS cannot use more than 140,000 immigrant visas or else they violate federal law.  Essentially, the USDOS is trying to

Q. The Philippine and All Other EB2 retrogressed for the first time in many years.  Does this mean that the Philippine EB2 and All Other dates will permanently be retrogressed?

A.  No.  This is a temporary retrogression that will only last until October 1, 2016.  The DOS expects that the October Visa Bulletin will be Current for both Philippines and All Other EB-2.

Q.  The India EB-2 seems stuck in 2004.  For much of the year it was in 2008.  When will it return to 2008?

A.  Our sense is that October 2016 Visa Bulletin will show a much more favorable Indian EB-2 date, probably back to 2008.

Q.  The Philippine EB-3 is unaffected by the August retrogression.  Where do you think the Philippine EB-3 date is headed?

A.  Our read is that the September 2016 Visa Bulletin may have an unusual date.  Therefore you should not read anything into the September 2016 Visa Bulletin. 

However, Fiscal Year 2017 looks very positive for Philippine EB-3.  Our educated guess is that the Philippine EB-3 date will move at approximately a three-to-one ratio.  In other words, the EB-3 date should move, on average, three months each Visa Bulletin.

Q. At what rate will the All Other EB-3 move in 2017?

A.  The All Other EB-3 should remain Current or almost Current for the foreseeable future.

Monday, July 11, 2016

AUGUST 2016 VISA BULLETIN: UNSURPRISING SURPRISES

The Department of State has just issued the August 2016 Visa Bulletin.  This is the eleventh Visa Bulletin of Fiscal Year 2016. As the fiscal year winds down, the last few Visa Bulletins always have some surprises.  

This Visa Bulletin is no exception.  Some dates progressed favorably.  Other dates retrogressed.  Rest assured that these changes are temporary. 

In this Visa Bulletin, the US DOS confirmed that everything will go back to "normal" on October 1, 2016, the start of the next fiscal year.

August 2016 Visa Bulletin

Final Action Dates

Applications with these dates may be approved for their Green Card (Permanent Residency card).
Employment- 
based
All Chargeability 
Areas Except
Those Listed
CHINA-
mainland 
born
INDIAMEXICOPHILIPPINES 
1stC01JAN1001JAN10CC
2nd01FEB1401JAN1015NOV04 01FEB1401FEB14
3rd15MAR1601JAN1008NOV0415MAR1615MAY09

MU Law Analysis

All Other:  The EB-2 has been current for many years.  The retrogression of the EB-2 category simply means that the DOS approved more cases than it expected to in FY2016.  The EB-3 moved forward by two weeks.  These dates continue to be very favorable.  We expect that All Other dates will continue to be positive for the foreseeable future, starting on October 1, 2016.

China:   A note in this month's Visa Bulletin indicates that these dates will stay at January 2010 for the September 2010's Visa Bulletin.  

India:  EB-3 moved ahead a few weeks.  But the EB-2 remained stuck in 2004.  We expect the India EB-2 to stay in 2004 until the October 2016 Visa Bulletin at which time it should steadily move forward.

Mexico: Mirrors All Other in all aspects.

Philippines: EB-3 moved ahead three more months. The note in this month's Visa Bulletin indicated that the EB-3 date should move through 2009 and may move into 2010 by September, as MU Law has been expecting.  (Our note from May 2016: "MU Law believes that Philippines EB-3 will continue to steadily move forward in the coming months. We expect it to move into 2009 in the by early summer, and may reach 2010 by the end of this fiscal year.").  The enactment of a Feb 2014 in EB-2 is of no concern.  Philippine EB-2 will be current in October 2016.

Friday, July 1, 2016

MU TURNS SEVEN

Today marks the seven year anniversary of the Musillo Unkenholt LLC law firm.  We have always tried to serve our clients with intelligence, speed, and respect.  We are very proud of the work that we have done here on behalf of our many clients.  Over these seven years we have significantly grown the firm.  We have about twice as many employees as when we started on July 1, 2009.  Most of our growth is due to referrals from our clients, which is the greatest sign of success.

The firm’s lifeblood is the people who work here.  We have three paralegals who have been with us since Day One, and another who re-joined us from our prior law firm.  All four are outstanding paralegals and better people.  We have several attorneys whose first attorney job was with MU Law.  They all have bright presents and brighter futures.  We have a number of newer, younger people who have benefited our culture and continually add to it.

Thank you to everyone – employees, clients, friends, professional colleagues -- who have contributed to MU Law’s success over these seven years.   We are very proud to celebrate seven great years!

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

ANOTHER COURT LIMITS DOL’s AUTHORITY TO INVESTIGATE H-1 EMPLOYERS

The Greater Missouri case has been winding its way through the courts for ten years.  The case significantly limits the scope of the DOL’s authority to investigate H-1B employers, but was limited to certain Midwest states.  A decision issued last week, Volt Management, means that the opinion in Greater Missouri could be applied nationally.

Traditionally the DOL has used any allegation of H-1B or LCA violations as probable cause to investigate an H-1B employer’s entire H-1B program.  In Greater Missouri, the Eight Federal Circuit Court of Appeals held that the DOL’s investigative authority solely was limited to the allegation.  In other words, if one H-1B employee filed a complaint with the DOL, the DOL could only investigate any violations against that one H-1B employee.  The DOL cannot, under Greater Missouri, investigate the employer’s entire H-1B program.

The Greater Missouri decision, however, was limited to matters within the Eight Federal Circuit, Arkansas, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota.  In Volt Management, BALCA held that:

Because the case at hand arose in the Ninth Circuit, I am not bound by the Eight Circuit’s decision in Greater Missouri. But having been reversed, ARB’s decision in Greater Missouri is not binding either. The ARB has had no occasion yet to revisit the issues raised in Greater Missouri in light of the change in the law—the Eighth Circuit’s holding. Until the issue is again reviewed by the ARB, it remains an open question whether a single aggrieved party complaint justifies a broad investigation into whether an employer violated the INA with respect to other H1B employees. I follow the Eighth Circuit’s reasoning.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

DINNER AT AILA

Are you an immigration attorney who is going to the AILA Annual Conference in Las Vegas next week?  If so, and if you do not have plans on Thursday evening, please join us for dinner.

For the last several years a group of AILA lawyers who practice in healthcare have gotten together for a dinner on the Thursday of AILA Annual week. Most years we have about 15 people attend. 

It is a great chance to catch up with old friends (and new ones!). It is a casual event. If you are an AILA attorney who is interested in attending this year’s dinner, please let me know how many will be attending from your group by June 17. Friends, spouses, etc. are also welcome.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

JULY 2016 VISA BULLETIN

The Department of State has just issued the July 2016 Visa Bulletin.  This is the tenth Visa Bulletin of Fiscal Year 2016. 

July 2016 Visa Bulletin

Final Action Dates

Applications with these dates may be approved for their Green Card (Permanent Residency card).
Employment- Based
All Chargeability Areas Except Those Listed
CHINA - mainland bornINDIAMEXICOPHILIPPINES
1stCCCCC
2ndC01JAN1001NOV04CC
3rd01MAR1601JAN1022OCT0401MAR1615FEB09
MU Law Analysis

All Other:  The EB-2 has been current for many years.  The EB-3 moved forward by two weeks.  These dates continue to be very favorable.  We expect that All Other dates will continue to be positive for the foreseeable future.

China: Both Chinese categories remained at January 2010.  A note in this month's Visa Bulletin indicates that these dates will stay at January 2010 for August and September 2010's Visa Bulletin.

India:  EB-3 moved ahead one month.  But the EB-2 remained stuck in 2004.  We expect the India EB-2 to stay in 2004 until the October 2016 Visa Bulletin at which time it should steadily move forward.

Mexico: Mirrors All Other in all aspects.

Philippines: EB-3 moved ahead three more months. The note in this month's Visa Bulletin indicated that the EB-3 date should move through 2009 and may move into 2010 by September, as MU Law has been expecting.  (Our note from May 2016: "MU Law believes that Philippines EB-3 will continue to steadily move forward in the coming months. We expect it to move into 2009 in the by early summer, and may reach 2010 by the end of this fiscal year.")

Dates of Filing

Applications with these priority dates should see their Consular Process application progress.  The USCIS may allow filing of the I-485 Adjustment of Status, provided that the USCIS issues its monthly authorization


Employment-
Based
All Chargeability
Areas Except
Those Listed
CHINA-
mainland
born
INDIAMEXICOPHILIPPINES
1stCCCCC
2ndC01JUN1301JUL09CC
3rdC01MAY1501JUL05C01JAN10

MU Law Analysis

These dates did not change from the prior Visa Bulletin.