Monday, November 22, 2010

The future of nursing and the H-1B

H-1B visas for nurses can be difficult, although many are approved each year. The key driver for success is not the applicant’s credentials, but the hospital/facility’s educational entry requirements for the position. In order to obtain an H-1B visa, the position must require a Bachelors degree as the minimum educational requirement for the position.

The USCIS has struggled with this concept; they tend to be skeptical of H-1Bs for nurses. The seminal USCIS Guidance Memo was written in 2002, and has not been updated to account for the fact that many hospitals and facilities now require a Bachelors degree for all of their nurses. This is especially true in certain units and in magnet facilities.

The New York Times says that about 50% of all nurses hold a Bachelors degree. It should not come as a surprise to the USCIS that the Bachelors degree requirement increasingly is becoming the norm. The Johnson Foundation, long on the cutting edge of nursing educational studies, is cited in the Times piece. JF contends that growing that number to 80% is a realistic and worthwhile goal. As the number of Bachelor degreed nurses swells, the H-1B likely will become even a more viable immigration strategy.

Monday, November 15, 2010

December 2010 Visa Bulletin

The Department of State has just released the December 2010 Visa Bulletin, which is the third Visa Bulletin for US Fiscal Year 2011. This Visa Bulletin had small progress in several classifications.

December 2010 Visa Bulletin
All Other CountriesChina IndiaMexico
EB-2Current 08JUN0608MAY06Current

Friday, November 12, 2010

New Location? No new H-1 is necessary

In April the USCIS announced a forthcoming change to the I-129, which is the base Form for H-1B petitions. The proposed Form included a little-noticed new requirement that an amended H-1B Petition must be filed whenever a H-1B worker changes his geographical location. This was inconsistent with prior USCIS guidance.

Musillo Unkenholt noticed this proposed requirement and realized that it would have a devastating effect on H-1B employers and employees who routinely move to new locations. We sent an official comment letter to USICS in which we raised our concerns. Our letter cited five prior instances where the USCIS had said that no amended H-1B was necessary when an H-1B worker changes a geographical location.

While the final revised Form I-129 will not be officially released until November 23, 2010, it appears that the USCIS has agreed with MU’s position. The Instructions to the new Form I-129 omit any requirement that an amended H-1B Petition must be filed whenever an H-1B worker changes his geographical location.

MU commends the USCIS for an open process and a recognition of past guidance.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Keeping our eye on the H-1B Count

Keeping our eye on the H-1B Count: According to the USCIS as of November 5, 2010, approximately 46,800 H-1B cap-subject petitions were receipted. Additionally, USCIS has receipted 17,200 H-1B petitions for aliens with advanced degrees. There are 65,000 “regular” cap-subject visas and 20,000 “advanced degree” H-1Bs”.

Several healthcare occupations regularly utilize the H-1B visa including,
Physical Therapists, Occupational Therapists, Speech Language Pathologists, and some Registered Nurses.

Friday, November 5, 2010

NPTE-i Registration and Lawsuit

Physical Therapists educated in the Philippines, India, Egypt and Pakistan are now eligible to register for the NPTE-i. The NPTE-i is the FSBPT’s licensing exam will be given on May 25, 2011. FSBPT claims that the segregated exam is necessary because of pervasive, ongoing security breaches by graduates of physical therapy schools from these countries, although their evidence for this claim is unavailable to the public.

Several plaintiffs sued the Georgia Board of Physical Therapy earlier this week. The lawsuit alleges that the FSBPT’s examination policy is discriminatory and violates both federal and state law, and that this discrimination is intentional.

The lawsuit also names the FSBPT as a Defendant. Success in that lawsuit likely will compel the FSBPT to revoke their policy, although it may take many months before any resolution is reached. If you are interested in participating in the lawsuit, you are encouraged to contact the AAIHR, which is working with the lawsuit’s Plaintiffs.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

USCIS Fees Increase

MU VISA ADVISOR: USCIS Filing Fee Increase

Effective November 23, 2010 USCIS filing fees will increase an average of 10%. Most employment-based petitions’ fees will be raised, although the dependent Form I-539, used for H-4, L-2, and several other status petitions, will decrease by $10.

Here is the chart of the increase for the most commonly-used employment-based immigration Forms.

New Fees Nov 23, 2010

You can find the new fees on the USCIS’ webpage: