Wednesday, August 27, 2014


Bloomberg News BNA has published a detailed analysis of several recent H-1B visa developments, including the new USCIS Nurse H-1B Memorandum.  Several attorneys, including MU Law’s Chris Musillo, were interviewed for the article.  Bloomberg has allowed MU Law to publish a copy of the article.

The article discusses increasing H-1B denial rates in spite of the fact that no new H-1B regulations have been published by USCIS in years.  One reason for the increasing denial rates have been stricter USCIS interpretations of “specialty occupation,” based on faulty reliance of the Department of Labor’s Occupational Outlook Handbook

Chris’ comments highlight the USCIS over-reliance on the Occupational Outlook Handbook when adjudicating H-1Bs for Registered Nurses.  Chris points out that while most nursing positions do not require Bachelor Degrees, some do.  Since some require a Bachelor’s degree the USCIS ought to look at an employer’s actual positional requirement instead of limiting review to the industry standards listed in the Occupational Outlook Handbook.

The Bloomberg article also discusses some recent court decisions and USCIS interpretations in light of these decisions.  

NOTE – the Bloomberg article is reproduced with permission from Daily Labor Report, Copyright 2014 by The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. (800-372-1033)  <>
Bloomberg H-1B Article.pdf

Thursday, August 21, 2014


AILA has recently dialoged with the Department of State’s Charlie Oppenheim, who is the DOS’ chief for producing the Visa Bulletin.  MU Law has spoken with Mr. Oppenheim several times in the past and have always found that his projections are well thought out and very accurate.

Here are his projections based on his recent conversation with AILA:
  • The Philippine EB-3 date should continue to be consistent with the Worldwide (Rest of World) date for at least the next few months.  Usage of Philippine EB-1 and EB-2 numbers has decreased, leaving more numbers for Philippine EB-3. 
  • India EB-2 numbers should continue to be favorable, although large jumps forward should not be expected.  The current priority date for Indian EB-2 is May 2009.  Adjustment of Status applicants should be prepared to get RFEs for medical exams if their priority date is at or near that date.  Adjustment of Status applicants should be prepared to get RFEs for medical exams if their priority date is at or near that date.  

Monday, August 18, 2014


One constant challenge for immigration foreign nationals is obtaining a Social Security Number once they have entered the US.  Traditionally, the Social Security Administration (SSA) made Social Security Number cards available via in-person visits immediately or almost immediately after one entered the US.  Effective August 1, 2014, however, the SSA will no longer provide Social Security Number card printouts.  It will now take up to two weeks before the SSNs are issued.

The SSA, says that the an applicant can get an instant letter online with a personal my Social Security account, or they may continue to call the SSA toll-free to request a letter by mail.  The phone number is: 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778).

Tuesday, August 12, 2014


The Department of State has just released the September 2014 Visa Bulletin. This is the twelfth and final Visa Bulletin of the 2014 US Fiscal Year, which began on October 1, 2013. The October 2014 Visa Bulletin will begin the 2015 Fiscal Year.

The Philippines EB-3 jumped again. It is now at April 2011, which is a four year jump in the last four months.

India EB-2 also moved forward steadily. It progressed to May 2009.

The Chinese EB-3 number remained at November 2008. 

The All Other EB-3 held steady as well. It remains at April 2011. As we predicted last month, it did not progress.

Employment- Based
All Other
Other Workers01APR1122JUL0508NOV0301APR1101APR11

Monday, August 11, 2014


New USCIS Chief Leon Rodriguez was nominated for the job shortly after Alejandro Mayorkas accepted the positon of Deputy Secretary of the USCIS.  Director Rodriguez was sworn into the role on July 9, 2014.  Mr. Mayorkas’ tenure as Director was marked by greater engagement with the public than his predecessors.  Mr. Mayorkas regularly attended AILA functions and routinely held “town hall” style meetings with the public. 

Mr. Rodriguez seems poised to continue in this manner.  USCIS will be holding a stakeholder teleconference on Thursday, Aug. 14, from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. ET, with USCIS Director Léon Rodríguez.

During the teleconference, Director Rodríguez will introduce himself to the USCIS stakeholder community and answer questions.  Teleconference registration details are expected shortly. 

Wednesday, August 6, 2014


According to a 2012 “United States Registered Nurse Workforce Report Card and Shortage Forecast,” published in the American Journal of Medical Quality, 
“With an aging U.S. population, health care demand is growing at an unprecedented pace . . . The number of states receiving a grade of “D” or “F” for their RN shortage ratio will increase from 5 in 2009 to 30 by 2030, for a total national deficit of 918,232 RN jobs. There will be significant RN workforce shortages throughout the country in 2030; the western region will have the largest shortage ratio of 389 RN jobs per 100,000.”
The situation is no better in other allied healthcare occupations.  According to the Department of Labor’s Occupational Outlook Handbook by 2022, employment of Physical Therapists is expected to skyrocket by 36 percent.  The same is true of Occupational Therapists (29 percent), Pharmacists (14 percent), and Speech Language Pathologists (19 percent). 

Contrary to some public perception, International Healthcare Professionals are not undereducated.  Prior to issuance of a visa, the International Healthcare Professional’s education, training, past licenses, and experience must be verified and proved that it is authentic and comparable to an American healthcare worker of the same type.  International Healthcare Professionals must pass English fluency exams prior to visa issuance.

International Healthcare Professionals are also not underpaid.  Because of strict USCIS and DOL wage requirements, International Healthcare Professionals must be paid the greater of prevailing and actual wages.  International Healthcare Professionals cannot have their hours reduced.  The employer must pay the guaranteed minimum hours unless the International Healthcare Professional is unavailable for work because of non-work related factors, such as the worker’s own voluntary request for time off, or in other circumstances where the worker is unable to work.

The PERM labor certification process guarantees that there are no US workers ready, willing, and able of performing the position before any International Healthcare Professional is granted an immigrant visa.  Employers cannot make International Healthcare Professionals sign onerous contracts, including those contain penalty clauses.

Recent studies are pointing to the high quality of care provided by International Healthcare Professionals and the added value that they bring to the US healthcare industry.  Patricia Cortes, Assistant Professor, Markets, Public Policy and Law, Boston University, authored a 2012 study, Relative Quality Of Foreign Nurses In The United States

She found that,
"foreign nurses, in particular Filipinos, tend to work in more demanding settings and maintain less desirable schedules - they are more likely to work in hospitals, work full-time, and do shift work, as compared to their native counterparts.
Natives are more likely to work part-time and choose jobs with standard schedules - for example, they tend to work in physicians’ offices and schools, etc. In terms of educational background, the majority of foreign nurses have at least a bachelor’s degree, whereas a larger fraction of natives have an associate degree. A more educated nurse workforce (as measured by the share of nurses in a hospital holding a bachelor’s degree) has been associated with better patient outcomes and higher nurse productivity."