Wednesday, March 26, 2014


The USCIS has issued their annual H-1B Cap press release.  The most notable news is that USCIS announced that it will start the processing of Premium Processing petitions no later than April 28, 2014.  The press release also confirms that USCIS expects to receive in excess of  the H-1B cap for both the masters and regular H-1B cap.  All told, many more than the Congressional mandated cap of 85,000 H-1B petitions will be filed by employers and receipted by USCIS.

A second notice marks the H-1B cap filing "tips".  This page advises the public on filing addresses, the order of documents, LCAs, and other key elements of a properly-filed H-1B cap-subject petition.

Friday, March 21, 2014


The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) is the Philippine government's agency tasked with protecting Philippine workers rights when they travel to work outside the Philippines.  The POEA also promotes the development of overseas workers.  Employers who seek to recruit and hire Philippine workers must obtain a POEA licence before recruiting Philippine workers.

The POEA has just issued a warning that a "Sandra M. Lim" has been representing herself as an Asst. Supervisor with the POEA.  The POEA confirms that there is no POEA official or employee with that name.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014


Prof. Linda Aiken has long been a first-rate scholar on nurse staffing rates and their impact on patient safety and patient mortality.  Prof. Aiken’s list of credits is a mile long, including her Registered Nursing degree.

Once again, Prof. Aiken has found a critical link between nurse staffing and patient outcomes – this time in Europe.   From her paper in The Lancet,

An increase in a nurses' workload by one patient increased the likelihood of an inpatient dying within 30 days of admission by 7% (odds ratio 1·068, 95% CI 1·031—1·106), and every 10% increase in bachelor's degree nurses was associated with a decrease in this likelihood by 7% (0·929, 0·886—0·973). These associations imply that patients in hospitals in which 60% of nurses had bachelor's degrees and nurses cared for an average of six patients would have almost 30% lower mortality than patients in hospitals in which only 30% of nurses had bachelor's degrees and nurses cared for an average of eight patients.

The Irish have picked up on the study.  The Irish Examiner reports that the Irish Nurses and Midwives’ Organisation has asked the Irish Government to allow nurse recruitment.  The INMO cites Prof. Aiken’s research in their demand.

Will America follow suit?  Hopefully.  This research is not novel or groundbreaking.  Here is a 2010 MU Law blog post, citing yet another study by Prof. Aiken.

Friday, March 14, 2014


This year’s H-1B filing date of April 1, 2014 is coming fast.  MU Law predicts that the USCIS will see as many as twice as many H-1Bs as allowed under the H-1B quota (H-1B cap).  When the USCIS receives more H-1B petitions than slots available it holds an “H-1B lottery”.  Last year, the USCIS held an H-1B lottery for the first time since April 2008 (US Fiscal Year 2009).

If you are considering filing an H-1B cap-subject petition, MU Law urges you to begin that process now.

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

International workers who are working in the U.S. on an H-1B visa with another cap-subject employer are not subject to H-1B cap. These cases are commonly referred to as “H-1B transfer” cases and may be filed at any time throughout the year.

Employees that need a "cap-subject" H-1B include:

* International students working on an EAD card under an OPT or CPT program after having attended a U.S. school
* International employees working on a TN may need an H-1B filed for them in order for them to pursue a permanent residency (green card) case
* Prospective international employees in another visa status e.g. H-4, L-2, J-1, F-1
* H-1B workers with a cap exempt organization
* Prospective international employees currently living abroad

Past H-1B Demand:

H-1B Cap Numbers:
Date H-1B Cap Reached:
H-1B 2003 (FY 2004)
October 1, 2003
H-1B 2004 (FY 2005)
October 1, 2004
H-1B 2005 (FY 2006)
August 10, 2005
H-1B 2006 (FY 2007)
May 26, 2006
H-1B 2007 (FY 2008)
April 3, 2007
H-1B 2008 (FY 2009)
April 7, 2008
H-1B 2009 (FY 2010)
December 21, 2009
H-1B 2010 (FY 2011)
January 25, 2011
H-1B 2011 (FY 2012)
November 22, 2011
H-1B 2012 (FY 2013)
June 11, 2012
H-1B 2013 (FY 2014)
April 5, 2013

Sunday, March 9, 2014


The Department of State has just released the March 2014 Visa Bulletin.  This is the sixth Visa Bulletin of the 2014 US Fiscal Year, which began on October 1, 2013.  

The biggest news is that the Philippine EB-3 number has surged ahead to November 2007, a promotion of almost six months.  Other than that the Visa Bulletin dates remained approximately where they were in the April 2014 Visa Bulletin.

The Chinese EB-2 and EB-3 continued to be flipped: the Chinese EB-2 is worse than the Chinese EB-3.  Chinese nationals who are EB-2 may be able to file an EB-3.  Chinese EB-3s should check with their attorneys to effect this change.The Chinese EB-3 mirrors the All Other EB-3.

Employment- Based
All Chargeability Areas Except Those Listed

Thursday, March 6, 2014


Effective May 1, 2014, the country of Chile joins 37 other countries who are part of the US' Visa Waiver program.  Chilean passport holders with both an approved Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) and an e-passport will be able to visit the United States without nonimmigrant visitor visas.  Chilean nationals will no longer have to apply for a B1/B2 visa. 

Chile is one of the most-preferred counties in US immigration.  Not only is Chile now the first Latin American country to qualify for the Visa Waiver program, it is only one of five countries who may avoid the onerous H-1B cap by filing a Trade Visa.

The five Trade Visa Countries are: Canada (TN), Mexico (TN, Australia (E-3), Singapore (H-1B1), and Chile (H-1B1).

Monday, March 3, 2014


USCIS is asking the public for help on the issue of H-1B visas for Registered Nurses.  In particular the USCIS seeks assistance the questions at the end of this blog posting.

The USCIS will not take case-specific questions or questions on allied healthcare workers.  The question period is through March 7, 2014.

• What current trends and developments in the employment of nurses should USCIS be aware of? For example, have there been recent changes to the minimum educational, experience, training and/or other requirements for entry into certain specific nursing occupations?

• What new or updated USCIS guidance is needed for H-1B nonimmigrant and Schedule A-based immigrant visa petitions for nurses? Are there any recommended changes or updates to the November 27, 2002, USCIS Policy Memorandum on H-1B petitions for nurses, including the list of advanced practice nursing occupations?

• Are there any concerns regarding how USCIS has applied applicable law or policy in adjudicating H-1B nonimmigrant and Schedule A-based immigrant visa petitions for nurses?

• Where is the greatest need for either permanent and/or temporary nurses?

• How are hospitals and medical offices utilizing staffing companies? When a staffing company places a nurse with a hospital and/or a medical office, which entity retains control over the nurse’s employment and what are indicators for that?