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.