Wednesday, August 31, 2011


MU’s Chris Musillo is one of the three presenting faculty members for the American Immigration Lawyers Association's September 13, 2011 teleconference on Consular Issues impacting Immigration: India, Philippines, and China. Chris will be speaking on hot issues effecting processing at the US Embassy in Manila.

From the AILA new release:

Which are the consular posts that process the highest volume of visa applications? What are the most common issues visa applicants and their attorneys face when dealing with these posts? Are there ways to minimize the stress involved in processing H-1Bs and Blanket L and individual L-1 applications?

The seminar wraps up with a Q&A session and will cover the following topics:

  • Common Issues with H-1B, Blanket L and Individual L Applications at Post India
  • Common Issues Faced by Applicants In Consular Posts In China
  • Overcoming 214(b) at American Embassy in Manila When Seeking a Visa to Take a Licensing Exam
  • How to Deal with Delays Caused by Administrative Processing

To register for this teleconference, please visit the AILA website. The teleconference is approved for CLE credits in most states.

Monday, August 29, 2011


The Prevailing Wage Determination (PWD) usually is the first step in the processing of an employment-based green card. This is a necessary beginning step for most occupations, including IT and healthcare occupations. The PWD is filed with the US Department of Labor (DOL).

In July, the DOL ceased processing PWDs as the direct result of a lawsuit affecting their H-2B applications. As a result of that lawsuit the entire PERM and Schedule A green card system has been disrupted.

Until the DOL re-commences the processing of PWDs, PERM and Schedule A green card cases may be delayed. It does appear that the resolution is forthcoming. There are reports that the first PWDs in several weeks have been received by the immigration community. If you have any questions on this, please do not hesitate to contact Musillo Unkenholt.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

H-1B CAP UPDATE: 25,300

The Fiscal Year 2012 (FY2012) H-1B cap season began on April 1, 2011. Since April 1, a mere 25,300 H-1B cap-subject Petitions have been receipted by USCIS as of August 12, 2011. This is much lower than in recent years and likely reflects the fact that US employers are not hiring workers, including foreign-national workers.

To put this in perspective, in FY 2011, which began April 1, 2010, the USCIS has receipted about 30,000 H-1Bs through August 1, 2010. In FY 2009, there was about 47,000 H-1Bs receipted in by USCIS through September 1, 2009. For the prior three fiscal years (FY 2006-08), the H-1B cap was reached on the very first day of filing.

Many healthcare professions ordinarily qualify for H-1B status, including Physical Therapists, Occupational Therapists, Speech Language Therapists, and some Registered Nursing positions.

For three years the H-1B demand has decreased. This is compelling evidence that H-1B workers are not used to drive down US worker’s wages. If H-1B workers were used to drive down wages, H-1B demand would remain consistent in a decreasing economy, since US employers would still want to save money on salary expenses.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011


The National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) has announced that starting July 1, 2013, internationally educated occupational therapists will have new minimum educational standards to be eligible for the OTR Certification Exam. Internationally educated occupational therapists must either:

  • Completion of an Entry-Level Bachelor’s Degree in Occupational Therapy from a government authorized and/or WFOT approved college or university occupational therapy educational program AND a Post Professional Masters Degree in Occupational Therapy OR
  • Completion of an Entry-Level Master’s Degree in Occupational Therapy from a government authorized and/or WFOT approved college or university occupational therapy educational program

NBCOT’s Occupational Therapist Eligibility Determination (OTED) will be used to determine comparability to US accreditation occupational therapy educational standards and competencies. All internationally-educated occupational therapists approved for exam eligibility under current OTED eligibility standards must take and pass the OTR certification examination prior to July 1, 2013 if they do not hold an occupational therapy master’s degree deemed comparable to a U.S. entry-level accredited master’s degree in occupational therapy. After July 2013, internationally-educated occupational therapists will not be eligible for the OTR if they do not hold a US equivalent occupational therapy master’s degree.

NBCOT is the not-for-profit credentialing agency that provides certification for the occupational therapy profession.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011


The Department of State has just released the September 2011 Visa Bulletin. There was very little progress in the dates, which is what usually happens as the US fiscal year nears the end. The US fiscal year's end date is September 30; This is the last Visa Bulletin of the fiscal year.

Sept 2011 Visa Bulletin
All Other CountriesChina IndiaMexico
EB-2Current 15APR0715APR07Current

Thursday, August 4, 2011


MU Law has had a few follow-up questions about the H-1C visa that was passed 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

Tuesday, August 2, 2011


The House of Representatives just has passed a reauthorization of the H-1C visa program. HR 1933 was first introduced by Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX) this past spring. Rep. Smith quietly has been securing votes since the bill's introduction. The H-1C expired in December 2009.

HR 1933 looks similar to past iterations of the H-1C visa. Notably it appears to only apply to 14 hospitals in the U.S., many of which are in Rep. Smith's home state of Texas. Only 300 RN positions per year are authorized under the H-1C. The H-1C also includes wage protections for U.S. workers.

Because the H-1C is applicable to only 14 hospitals, the visa has never been used widely and is not expected to materially impact the processing of any immigrant (EB-3) visas. That having been said this is good news for those nurses whose visas expired under the previous H-1C.

Next, the bill must be introduced in the Senate. Once introduced the Senate must pass the bill. Pres. Obama is expected to sign the bill if it can garner enough votes in the Senate.