Wednesday, June 16, 2010

State of Immigration Legislation - Nurses

It appears unlikely at this time that CIR will be passed in 2010. The entire US House of Representatives is up for election in November, along with one-third of the Senators. The elections are expected to be as contentious as the last few election cycles.

The only chance for positive immigration reform is through piecemeal (smaller) immigration legislation. Unfortunately the prospects for piecemeal legislation are also small, as there is little motivation in Washington DC to liberalize visa quotas given that the US’ nearly 10 percent unemployment rate. In light of these real world factors, the odds of a Schedule A visa bill in 2010 are very low.

Longer term, the odds are much better. While the nursing shortage temporarily has abated, economists predict that the US' nursing shortage is expected to grow dramatically in the next decade. This supply will be filled by internationally-trained nurses in the forthcoming years. Of course this is of little comfort to US businesses that have spent countless hours developing their international connections and international nurses who have met all licensure and Visa Screen rules, only to have the US visa quota system let them down.

The one bright spot is that we’re starting to see promotion of retrogressed dates. The DOS predicts that the Worldwide EB3 (including Philippines) should be well into 2004 by the end of the summer. If we see the same progression in FY2011 that we saw in FY2010, the Worldwide EB3 date should move through 2005 and into 2006 by the end of FY2011.

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