Immigration lawyers and impatient immigrants have been waiting too long for something to happen, and the new Bills introduced a few days ago may be a blessing. One Bil, H.R. 5882, to “recapture” employment-based (EB) green cards that Congress authorized in the past but that went unused before the end of past fiscal years due to government processing delays. Analysts estimate that approximately 200,000 unused EB green cards will be brought back into supply for all employment-based workers.
A new Bill to save he Nursing Shortage has been introduced as well. It is HR 5924, The key points of the legislation are:
1. Lifting of retrogression for Schedule A workers – Any immigrant visa quotas or caps are waived for all visa applications filed for Shortage Occupations (Schedule A occupations: Physical Therapists and Registered Nurses), provided that the I-140 is filed prior to September 30, 2011.
2. 20,000 primary beneficiary quota – While there is no retrogression for Schedule A cases filed before September 30, 2011, Consulates may not approve more than 20,000 primary beneficiary visas in any one year. There is no quota for the immediate family members of such beneficiaries.
3. Expedited Review – The USCIS must review — and approve or issue an RFE — on all Schedule A I-140 cases within 30 days of receipt.
4. Grant Fee – All primary beneficiary nursing visas issued under this legislation must pay a fee of $1500. Katrina-effected and HPSA employers do not have to pay the fee.
5. Grant Program – These fees will fund a Grant program. Schools of nursing may draw on this fund based on their student populations. The fees are to be used to attract, train, and retain nursing faculty, purchase educational equipment, expand infrastructure, and attract students.
6. Liberalized US Citizenship for some Health Care workers – Time spent by US Permanent Resident Health acre workers in a developing country will not be held against them in their endeavors to become US citizens.
7. Obligation Attestation – Immigrant visa applicants must attest that they do not owe their country of residence or origin a financial obligation. An obligation is defined as financial assistance that the intending immigrant incurred to defray the costs of education in consideration for a commitment to continue to work in that county.
We welcome the new legislation, the bill will take nurses out of the green card caps until 2011 with a limit of 20,000 principle applicants per year. We will keep you posted with new developments as they become available.