Monday, January 28, 2013

115,000 H-1Bs . . . OR EVEN MORE?

The news around Comprehensive Immigration Reform is moving at a breakneck pace.  On Tuesday, President Obama will speak in Las Vegas.  This is expected to be the launch for the President’s plan for Comprehensive Immigration Reform.  The President is firmly behind CIR and likely will sign any bill that legalizes most or all of the 12 million or so undocumented. 

The House of Representatives was expected to be a different story.  Unlike the Senate, which is controlled by the President’s Democratic party, the House is controlled by the Republicans who were expected to put up a bigger fight on immigration. 

Yet, in a closed door meeting on Friday, Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) told the Ripon Society that a group of dedicated policy wonks and politicians have been meeting on and off for three or four years and that, “Frankly, I think they basically have an agreement”.

As if that weren't encouraging enough, Computerworld reported on Friday that a bipartisan group of influential Senators were ready to introduce a high-skilled immigration bill, the Immigration Innovation Act,  that calls for the H-1B cap to increase to 115,000 per year, from its current 65,000.  The H-1B cap would contain a “market-based escalator” that would increase or decrease the H-1B cap as employer-demand ebbed and flowed, although it could never fall below the 115,000 threshold.  

Things are moving very fast in immigration.  If you are in healthcare and want to be sure that this once-in-a-decade opportunity to influence immigration legislation is not missed, please contact MU Law.  We are working with a dedicated group of industry leaders to push for positive immigration reform in healthcare, but we need more help.

Friday, January 25, 2013


In the forthcoming weeks, Sen. Reid and the Democrats and Sen. Rubio and the Republicans will begin to shape their immigration legislation language.  It is an open secret that the legalization of the approximately 12 million undocumented will entirely drive the politics of the legislation, but there is a real opportunity for Congress to fix other immigration policy failures, such as immigration for shortage occupations.  Let’s hope that Congress takes this opportunity and doesn't merely cling to symbols.

Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) this week introduced the wordy, Immigration Reform That Works For America’s Future Act.  This Act is the first bill in the Senate, which is symbolic and encouraging.  That having been said, it is only a “placeholder,” meaning that there is no substantive language attached to the bill at this time.  Politicians like Sen. Rubio (R-FL) are beginning to turn their policy statements into textual law that should be voted on by Congress in the next few months. 

Tuesday, January 22, 2013


With Sunday's re-inauguration of President Obama, he begins the second and last of his two terms.  He has targeted Comprehensive Immigration Reform as one of his major policy initiatives. Republicans appear to be willing to cede from their traditional anti-immigration positions.  Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) has made immigration reform his pet cause.  

The US Chamber of Commerce is pushing for high-skilled visa liberalization.  Professional nurses and Physical Therapists have been listed on the Department of Labor's Schedule A since 1980.  Schedule A is limited to those occupations that the Department has "determined there are not sufficient United States workers who are able, willing, qualified, and available for the occupations."

In spite of this obvious shortage, it still takes fully qualified Registered Nurses between 7-10 years to obtain US green cards.    A fully qualified nurse has passed an English fluency examination and the relevant state's licensing examination. This is an insane policy decision for an occupation that according to the Occupational Outlook Handbook, is expected to grow 26 percent to 2020, faster than the average for all occupations.

Politicians like Sen. Rubio are beginning to turn their policy statements into textual law that should be voted on by Congress in the next few months.  Advocacy organizations have begun to lobby politicians.  Readers of this blog who are concerned about this issue should contact Musillo Unkenholt, so that we can put you in touch with people who have already begun to educate Senate staffs.  Change will only happen with an effort.

Friday, January 18, 2013


The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration is the Philippine government's agency dedicated to managing the outflow of Philippine workers to countries around the world.  The POEA is specially charged with protecting the rights of Philippine workers, as well as promoting the deployment of Philippine workers.  It regulates both foreign recruiting agencies and monitors the workers' jobs, insuring fair pay and fair working conditions.

POEA Administrator Hans Leo J. Cacdac will be answering questions via Twitter on January 22, 2013 at 3PM Manila time.  Questions may be sent to:

While your on Twitter, you can give MU Law a follow too!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013


The Department of State has launched an on-line tracking system for petitions and application that are being processed through their agency.  DOS cases include all Consular /Embassy appointment cases, notably immigrant visas (green cards) where the applicant has to have an interview at an overseas Consulate/Embassy.    It is expected that all applications that funnel through the National Visa Center will be accessible via this on-line system.

Thursday, January 10, 2013


The Department of State has just released the February 2013 Visa Bulletin.  

Overall, the news remains disappointing.  India EB-2 remained at September 1, 2004 for the fourth month.  The Philippine EB-3 date was equally disappointing, moving just one week, to August 22, 2006.

On the other hand, All Other and Philippine EB-2 dates remained Current.  The All Other EB-3 jumped continued to steadily progress, improving more than one month. 

 As MU Law mentioned earlier, we expect the Philippine EB-2 number to remain Current or near Current until Spring/Summer 2013, when it should become unavailable as it does most Summers.

February 2013 Visa Bulletin
All Other CountriesChina IndiaPhilippines

Tuesday, January 8, 2013


The Occupations of Physical and Occupational Therapy are in educational transition.  About ten years ago, the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education began the transition for Physical Therapists.  CAPTE currently requires a Master’s Degree for entry into the profession.  The standard will rise to a Doctorate Physical Therapy on January 1, 2016.

Occupational Therapy is going through a similar transition.  All new Occupational Therapist Eligibility Determination applicants who do not hold a master’s degree in occupational therapy must have an OTED application with payment to NBCOT postmarked by January 1, 2013.  Effective January 2, 2013, only applicants with a master’s degree in occupational therapy will be able to apply to the OTED review process and, if deemed eligible, take the NBCOT certification exam.

Thursday, January 3, 2013


With the new year comes a new Congress.  A new Congress means that all pending legislation is scrapped and must be reintroduced.  This is the US Constitution's provision that calls for a Congressional reboot every two years.  It was the founding father's version of pressing CTRL-ALT-DEL.

This may be less worrisome than it appears.  Any bills that have any chance of passing the new Congress will be reintroduced in short order.  

Last year at this time, MU Law looked at some bills that might see the light of day.  Although ultimately none did pass, we did caution that "the odds are against these bills passing are long."  What happens in 2013 is still an open question.

President Obama reportedly will make immigration reform a major push in 2013.  The big debate is the legislative push will be for a comprehensive immigration package or whether a series of smaller, piecemeal immigration bills are pushed.