SCHEDULE A NURSE
VISAS: IMPROVING THE PROCESSING
December 10, 2008 - In a very promising development,
on December 5, 2008
the Office of the Citizenship and Immigration Services Ombudsman published it recommendations as to how to improve the processing of Schedule A nurse cases
and delivered the 11-page Report to Congress on Monday, December 8, 2008.
The recommendations are based on a recent nationwide
teleconference conducted by the Ombudsman at which Immigration Solutions was
present. Immigration Solutions has
obtained an advance copy of the report which can be accessed here.
Those of you who have read the
monthly newsletters and periodic newsflashes published by Immigration Solutions
and who have participated in teleconferences presented by Immigration Solutions,
will readily recognize that the report repeats and reinforces everything that
Immigration Solutions has discussed and presented over the past few years.
The attached report, while specifically providing
recommendations for improving the processing of Schedule A nurse cases, should
also be required reading for all persons active in the field of recruiting
foreign nurses to the United States.
The report provides an excellent
history of the issues and discusses the effect of the nurse shortage in the United States. It explains the limited nonimmigrant visa
options available to nurses (TN, H-1B and H-1C). Specifically, the report provides statistics
of how few H-1B nurse cases have been approved recently (38 cases in 2006, 66
cases in 2007 and only 136 in 2008). In
addition, the report discusses the immigrant visa process for nurses through
Schedule A and the two main problems with that process, i.e., the delays at
USCIS in processing the I-140 visa petition and the immigrant visa quota
delays. We note that the report
references the fact that one of the Service Centers charged with adjudicating
Schedule A casework is some 4 months behind what the Processing Report
The Ombudsman concludes the report with the following
USCIS separate and prioritize Schedule A green card nurse applications so
that they can be expedited upon immigrant visa availability.
USCIS centralize Schedule A nurse applications at one designated USCIS
service center to facilitate more efficient and consistent processing of
Schedule A applications.
USCIS regularly communicate with DOL and develop points of contact at DOL
to discuss concerns and direct inquiries regarding the processing of nurse
In conclusion, while the report
makes recommendations to improve the processing of the I-140 Schedule A
petitions at the USCIS, legislative action is still needed to increase the
number of immigrant visas available each year for nurses. Indications so far from incoming President
Obama and the incoming Congress are good that this issue will be dealt with early
in 2009. The Ombudsman's Report and the
reasonably good chances of increased immigrant visa quotas for nurses reinforce
our opinion that hospitals, staffing agencies and other healthcare providers
should be filing I-140 Schedule A visa petitions now to establish their
position on the immigrant visa quota waiting list in order to be ahead of the
competition when more immigrant visas become available and the processing
procedures improve and become faster.
Please feel free to contact us with
any questions that you might have pertaining to this information. As always, we are available to assist you
with your immigration needs for all healthcare occupations. This is our area of specialty. Our highly trained staff stands ready to work
with you on designing an immigration program that suits your specific needs and
requirements for 2009.
For more information:
Read the original congressional memo
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