Thursday, April 28, 2016


As the economy improves, the nursing shortage will continue to escalate.  The reasons are many: Baby Boom Generation Demand, Aging Nursing Workforce, Few Nurse Educators, Distribution Challenges, and a lack of available visa for Foreign-trained Nurses. 

We may be approaching the tipping point.  We are beginning to signs from all across the US that nursing shortages are impacting patient care.  All of the articles linked below have been published in the last 10 days.

Alabama: “School nurses in the Mobile County Public School System say they're in a crisis. Many spoke at the board meeting Monday night to explain how not having enough nurses is putting children's lives in danger.

South Dakota:  “A shortage of registered nurses has become so severe at one South Dakota hospital that it’s actually been forced to close hospital beds.

Oregon and Washington: “Oregon and Washington will be short a combined 13,000 registered nurses by 2025”.  This article cites the aging nursing workforce, the distribution problems, and the lack of nurse educators.

Georgia: “A nurse shortage has driven up wages, making it hard for nonprofits like hers to compete.

Kentucky: “the one thing abundantly clear is that the problem lies not only in putting students in seats, but in finding educators to get them to the cap and gown.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016


AILA regularly checks in with Charlie Oppenheim, who is the Department of State’s expert on Visa Bulletin numbers.  Their most recent Check In with Charlie contains his projections for several major visa categories.

EB-3 Philippines

The expectation is that Philippines EB-3 VB date will continue to advance a few months at a time, consistent with movement over the past few months.  He “hopes” that the date will progress into mid-2010 before the end of this fiscal year in September 2016.

There are currently about 4,200 immigrant visas in the pending demand file.  The Texas Service Center has 1,600, the Nebraska Service Center has 1,200, and the US Consulate in Manila has 1,400.

Charlie expects EB2 Philippines to be current for the foreseeable future.

EB-2 and EB-3 India

Both India EB-2 and EB-3 will move slowly forward, although because of unusual demand for EB-1 it is difficult for Charlie to accurately predict movement in these categories.  Normally, light demand for EB-1 numbers means that unused EB-1s trickle down into the EB-2 category.  The government is also seeing increased upgrade demand, where previously approved EB-3s are now being re-field as EB-2s.

New Final Action Date for EB-4 for El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras

The usual sight of these countries appearing on the Visa Bulletin is because of demand for EB-4 Special Immigrant Juvenile (SIJS) applicants.  While this means retrogression for these categories, it should have no impact on the traditional EB-1, EB-2, or EB-3 categories in other countries.

EB-2 and EB-3 China

It will likely be necessary to retrogress these categories due to increasing demand for these immigrant visas.

Friday, April 15, 2016


USCIS announced on April 7, 2016, that it has received 236,000 H-1B cap-subject petitions, which is slightly more than the 233,000 H-1B cap-subject petitions that were received in 2015.  USCIS is in the process of running the H-1B lottery.  USCIS will begin premium processing for H-1B cap cases no later than May 16, 2016.

USCIS will continue to accept and process petitions that are otherwise exempt from the cap. Petitions filed on behalf of current H-1B workers who have been counted previously against the cap. USCIS will continue to accept and process petitions filed to:

  • Extend the amount of time a current H-1B worker may remain in the United States;
  • Change the terms of employment for current H-1B workers;
  • Allow current H-1B workers to change employers; and
  • Allow current H-1B workers to work concurrently in a second H-1B position. U.S. businesses use the H-1B program to employ foreign workers in occupations that require highly specialized knowledge in fields such as science, engineering, and computer programming.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016


The Department of State has just issued the May 2016 Visa Bulletin.  This is the eighth Visa Bulletin of Fiscal Year 2016. 

May 2016 Visa Bulletin

Final Action Dates

Applications with these dates may be approved for their Green Card (Permanent Residency card).
Employment- Based
All Chargeability Areas Except Those Listed
MU Law Analysis

All Other:  The EB-2 has been current for many years.  The EB-3 remains at Feb 15, 2016, jsut as it was last month.  These dates continue to be very favorable.  We expect that All Other dates will continue to be positive for the foreseeable future.

China: Neither Chinese category moved this month.  This May Visa Bulletin included a note on Chinese EB categories:

CHINA E3:  There has been an extremely large increase in Employment Third preference applicant demand in recent weeks.  This is likely due to the “downgrading” of status by applicants who had originally filed in the Employment Second preference.  This has resulted in the Third preference final action date being held for the month of May.  Continued heavy demand for numbers will require a retrogression of this date for June to hold number use within the FY-2016 annual limit.

India: EB-2 and EB-3 moved ahead a few weeks.

Mexico: Mirrors All Other in all aspects.

Philippines: EB-3 moved ahead three more months. MU Law believes that Philippines EB-3 will continue to steadily move forward in the coming months. We expect it to move into 2009 in the by early summer.

Dates of Filing

Applications with these priority dates should see their Consular Process application progress.  The USCIS may allow filing of the I-485 Adjustment of Status, provided that the USCIS issues its monthly authorization

All Chargeability
Areas Except
Those Listed

MU Law Analysis

These dates did not change from the prior Visa Bulletin. 

Friday, April 8, 2016


In a surprise to no-one, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has reached the congressionally mandated H-1B cap of 85,000 visas for fiscal year (FY) 2017.

As in the last few years, USCIS will use a computer-generated process (H-1B lottery) to randomly select H-1B petition “winners”.  The agency will reject and return filing fees for all unselected cap-subject petitions.

USCIS’ press release indicates that it cannot yet determine when it will conduct the random selection process.  USCIS will begin premium processing for H-1B cap-subject petitions requesting premium processing no later than May 11, 2015.

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.

Likewise, H-1B extensions and amendments are also not subject to the H-1B cap.  MU Law recently posted a blog on alternatives to the H-1B cap, which you can access here.

Friday, April 1, 2016


The H-1B cap opened on April 1, 2016.  On April 7, 2016, or shortly thereafter, the USCIS will announce that it has received more than 85,000 H-1B petitions, which is the H-1B cap limit.  MU Law believes that the USCIS will reports that at least 200,000 H-1B petitions will have been filed, and perhaps as many as 250,000.  As a result, the USCIS will hold an H-1B lottery.

The H-1B cap is clearly a drain on the US economy.  Nonetheless, until Congress acts to help the American economy and raises the H-1B cap, the H-1B lottery will result in many otherwise qualified H-1B workers having to consider alternative visa options. Here are some options:
  • Those that have had an H-1B in the past are often not counted against the H-1B cap.  If you have had an H-1B approved in the past, you should contact your attorney, even if you have never entered the US and activated the H-1B.
  • H-1B cap-exempt employers can file for H-1Bs at any time.  An H-B cap-exempt employer is (1) a University; or (2) a non-profit that is related to a University, such as a University Hospital; or (3) A Non-Profit research organization; or (4) A Non-Profit government research organization.
  • Nationals of these countries have alternative visa categories that are similar to the H-1B, but are not subject to the H-1B cap: Canada, Mexico, Australia, Chile, and Singapore.  If you hold a passport from any of these countries you can seek a visa such as a TN-1, E-3, or H-1B1.
  • OPT for F-1 Students.  The F-1 rules liberally allow students to work in the US.  Many students can now work for 24 month, after their graduation from a US college.
  • Green Card filings can often be done quickly.  All categories except India EB-2, EB-3, China EB-2, EB-3 and Philippine EB-3 have very favorable processing times.  Most applicants who qualify for categories other than these should expect their green cards in 12-18 months.
  • The L-1 visa (Multinational Executive, Managers, and Specialized Knowledge workers), the O-1 (Extraordinary Ability) and the E-1/E-2 (Treaty Trader and Treat Investor) offer some options for high level and critical employees.