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Articles Posted in Nurses

Welcome back to the Immigration Lawyer Blog, where we discuss all things immigration. In this video, attorney Jacob Sapochnick discusses a new and exciting bill proposed by the House of Representatives known as the HEROES Act (Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions Act) that would provide financial relief for undocumented immigrants, employment authorization for undocumented essential workers, and expedited visa processing for doctors, nurses, and other essential workers.

Please keep in mind that to become law, the HEROES Act still needs to be passed by the U.S. Senate and signed into law by the President.

Keep on watching for more information.


HEROES Act Overview


The new HEROES Act addresses some of the shortcomings of the previous CARES Act, which excluded undocumented immigrants from receiving stimulus checks from the federal government. The HEROES Act is a $3 trillion federal relief package that authorizes a second round of stimulus checks for those who qualify.

Here are the five takeaways of the HEROES Act:

  1. The HEROES Act would provide cash payments to immigrants and their families previously excluded under the CARES Act
  2. The HEROES Act would shield essential workers from deportation and create opportunities for some undocumented immigrants to obtain employment authorization (much like DACA)
  3. THE HEROES Act calls on Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to release low-risk immigrants from detention facilities where detention is not mandatory and where the detainee is not a national security risk
  4. The HEROES Act would allow expedited visa and green card processing for foreign medical professionals fighting Coronavirus and grant flexibility for medical professionals as to where they can work and how they can work
  5. THE HEROES Act would grant health care benefits for undocumented immigrants who do not have health insurance, including free testing, vaccines, and treatment relating to Coronavirus

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Welcome back to the Immigration Lawyer Blog, where we discuss all things immigration. In this video, attorney Jacob Sapochnick discusses a new and exciting bill called “the Healthcare Workforce Resilience Act” that would speed up the process for nurses and doctors to obtain their green cards.

Keep on watching for more information.


Overview


The Healthcare Workforce Resilience Act was introduced by Senators David Perdue (R-GA), Todd Young (R-IN), Dick Durbin (D-IL), and Chris Coons (D-DE) to increase the number of doctors and nurses available to meet the demand of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

While this bill is only a proposal for the time being, it is a great step in the right direction for the future of highly skilled foreign medical professionals. To become law, the bill must be passed by both houses of Congress and signed by the President. The bill is exciting because it is likely to have bipartisan support and has great potential to become law.


Why was the bill passed?


Currently, significant backlogs exist for nurses applying for a green card under the employment-based third preference category (EB-3). As you know Congress has imposed numerical limitations on the number of green cards that can be issued for immigrant workers. For EB-3 there is a waiting period of several years for green cards to become for EB-3 workers, even those with approved I-140 who are prevented from entering the United States because of these numerical limitations. At the moment, the priority date for nurses under EB-3 is stuck around January 2017 which for many nurses means a very long waiting period.

The Health Care Workforce Resilience Act was proposed to alleviate the strain on the U.S. healthcare system. The United States is currently at the epicenter of the Coronavirus pandemic and has an urgent need for doctors and nurses to help flatten the curve.


What does the proposal say?


The bill would authorize USCIS to “recapture” up to 25,000 immigrant visas for nurses and 15,000 immigrant visas for doctors. Additional immigrant visas would also be recaptured for the families of these medical professionals so that principal applicants and their family members can obtain their green cards at the same time.

This recapturing of unused visas in other preference categories would eliminate the backlog for nurses and doctors with approved I-140’s who are seeking an employment-based green card.

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In this video, attorney Jacob Sapochnick shares some exciting news: the EB-3 Philippines employment-based category has become current as of July 2019!

Since there is currently no waiting period for EB-3 Philippines, employers of Filipino nurses and other health care professionals, may now apply for the I-140 straight away, and applicants may file for their adjustment of status (green card).

Why is this change so exciting? Before this change, it could take a Filipino nurse eight or more years to work in the United States and obtain permanent residence. Since the EB-3 category is now current, the whole process could take as little as 10-12 months.

Because we do not yet know how long this category will remain current, we encourage Filipino nurses and their employers to take advantage of this narrow window of opportunity and file their I-140/I-485 petitions as soon as possible.

If you have any questions regarding this new change please contact our office.

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The H-1B visa is a lottery visa that is reserved for individuals who seek to work in what is called a “specialty occupation” in the United States.

A specialty occupation exists if any of the following are satisfied:

a) the foreign worker either possesses a bachelor’s degree or higher or equivalent work experience for the particular position sought

b) that the degree requirement is common for the particular position within the industry, or that the job is so complex or unique that it can only be performed by someone possessing a bachelor’s degree or equivalent work experience in a relevant field for the position

c) that the employer normally requires a degree or its equivalent for the position or

d) that the nature of the duties necessary to perform the position are so specialized and complex that performance of the duties is associated with attainment of a bachelor’s degree or higher, or equivalent work experience.

Nurses in management positions, nurse practitioners, certain ICU high level nurses, and some nurses in research, may qualify for the H-1B visa.

General Requirements

  • The nurse must possess a bachelor’s degree or higher relating to their area of employment
  • The nurse must have a job offer from a U.S. employer to perform work in a specialty occupation (such as a nurse practitioner)
  • The H-1B visa is a lottery visa subject to a numerical cap. An applicant may only apply for an H-1B visa in April of each fiscal year
  • The nurse’s employer must be willing to pay the prevailing wage which is the average wage paid to similarly employed workers in the area of intended employment. The prevailing wage is determined based on the occupation and work location where the foreign worker will be employed
  • The employer must attest that they will pay the nurse at least the prevailing wage and also that the nurse will be working at a particular location

For more information about the H-1B visa please visit our website.

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In this video attorney Jacob Sapochnick forms part of a panel of distinguished immigration attorneys. During this panel you will hear all about immigration options for foreign nurses.

These options include the H-1B visa for highly educated nurses such as nurse practitioners, the TN Visa for citizens of Canada or Mexico, and finally EB-3 employment based green card processing.

For more information about these options please click here.

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In this video attorney Jacob Sapochnick discusses immigration options for foreign nurses.

Overview: 

At the moment it is quite difficult for foreign nurses to immigrate to the United States because of how strict immigration officials are being in adjudicating these petitions.

While there are rigorous requirements that must be proven to immigrate to the United States, the demand for nurses in the United States continues to grow. Therefore, there is a still a need for foreign nurses to come and work in the United States.

The good news is that the immigration backlog for nurses is decreasing. The time that a nurse must wait to work in the United States depends on the nurse’s country of nationality.

So, how can a nurse get a visa to come to the United States?

There are generally two ways that a foreign nurse can come and work in the United States.

Option 1:

Green Card: A nurse may come to work in the United States if their employer files a petition on their behalf specifically on Form I-140 Immigration Petition for Alien Worker. Once the I-140 is approved, the nurse may apply for an immigrant visa under the EB-3 category for nurses once the I-140 priority date becomes current on the visa bulletin. This process culminates in an interview at the U.S. Consulate for the immigrant visa.

Option 2:

H-1B: A foreign nurse who has a Master’s or Bachelor’s degree, plus five years working experience, and is seeking to work in a specialty occupation (for example as managers or nurse practitioners) may apply for the H-1B work visa.

Option 3:

TN Visa: A foreign nurse from Canada or Mexico may apply for a TN visa.

Most nurses come to the United States by being petitioned for a green card directly by their employer.

What is required for this option?

  • The foreign nurse must have a visa screen which is an evaluation of educational equivalency by the CGFNS (Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools)
  • The foreign nurse must establish English proficiency by passing either the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) www.toefl.com or International English Language Testing System (IELTS, academic version) www.ielts.org.
  • The foreign nurse must also pass the state licensing exam and the NCLEX (National Council Licensure Examination)
  • The foreign nurse must have a job offer and
  • The employer must be willing to sponsor the foreign nurse for permanent residency
  • The employer must be willing to pay the prevailing wage of the location where the foreign nurse will be working

For more information please contact us at jacob@h1b.biz.

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