The Schumer-Hutchison amendment (H.AMDT. 3404) to increase the domestic supply of nurses and physical therapists by recapturing unused green cards from the years 1996 and 1997 has been introduced. There are estimates of 61,000 extra visas to come. Before the Schumer-Hutchison amendment was passed, it was amended by a Durbin second-degree amendment (H.AMDT. 3449) which attempts to increase the number of nursing faculty and students in the United States, encourages global health care cooperation, and creates a $1,500 fee for a recaptured green card from the underlying amendment. The Durbin amendment also requires that the petitioning healthcare worker attest that he or she has satisfied any outstanding commitment to work in his or her home country.
While these amendments have been incorporated into the Senate’s version of the Labor-HHS appropriations bill, this version must now be reconciled with the House’s version of the bill which does not contain these provisions. A conference between House and Senate members to reconcile the differences has yet to be scheduled. There is also the possibility that this bill will be combined with other appropriation bills as part of an omnibus package.
If this will pass will are looking at another year or so of Nurse visas, this is still far from being perfect.