Question for foreign nurses - green card

  1. I am a green card holder, and it was an employment based one... my agency was my sponsor. I came over on a 21-month contract, and at my green card interview I was asked whether I intended to take up post on my arrival, and to promise to start the job when I arrived in the US. I did this, and I have now been here 4 months. I want to break my contract and get another job on the other side of the country. Am I allowed to do this or will I be breaking a rule and jeopardizing my green card if I leave? If I have a green card am I now free to do whatever I want?
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  2. 13 Comments

  3. by   suehp
    Quote from Rocknurse
    I am a green card holder, and it was an employment based one... my agency was my sponsor. I came over on a 21-month contract, and at my green card interview I was asked whether I intended to take up post on my arrival, and to promise to start the job when I arrived in the US. I did this, and I have now been here 4 months. I want to break my contract and get another job on the other side of the country. Am I allowed to do this or will I be breaking a rule and jeopardizing my green card if I leave? If I have a green card am I now free to do whatever I want?
    From what I have been told you are free to do what you want once you have got a Green Card as I asked a similar question on another Forum...but wouldnt like to say that it was 100% reliable - only 99% reliable..sorry i know that isnt much help really...I can try and find out more if you like...
  4. by   Asiancutie
    well your employer petitioned you to come here so i would think they would expect you to work for them in the full term of your contract. i don't know check with the immigration office and your employer.
  5. by   Rocknurse
    Quote from Asiancutie
    well your employer petitioned you to come here so i would think they would expect you to work for them in the full term of your contract. i don't know check with the immigration office and your employer.
    I'm not interested in the contract, I am only interested in the green card aspect. The contract is breakable, the green card is not. I just want to make sure that that is safe before I do anything.
  6. by   roxannekkb
    Quote from Rocknurse
    I'm not interested in the contract, I am only interested in the green card aspect. The contract is breakable, the green card is not. I just want to make sure that that is safe before I do anything.
    I recently interviewed a recruiter for an article I wrote, and he told me that when a foreign nurse breaks a contract, aside from owing the hospital money, the hospital could charge the nurse with a violation of the terms of their immigration. Not many ever do, but it is possible. Your green card was awarded on the basis of accepting this job, so it can be taken as a violation of your immigration. According to him, you could end up being deported back home. It's not set in stone what would happen, as it would be up to the INS--but that is one of the possibilities if the hospital wanted to pursue it.

    I would suggest speaking with a reputable immigration lawyer before you do anything.
  7. by   joiedevivre
    Your green card is not in jeopardy at all. If you had not worked for that agency at all it would be a problem. However, as you so rightly say, your contract is an entirely different matter. Good luck.
    Last edit by joiedevivre on Mar 18, '04 : Reason: sp
  8. by   rodwill
    RockNurse,

    Are you positive you have an I-551 permanent resident card and not just an employment authorization status like a H-1 visa? Because getting a green card as I understand takes a lot longer than 4 months and the process happens here in the US not in an interview overseas. It also takes 6 months to 3 years to get processed. I just had mine renewed and it took a year to get my shiny new piece of plastic.

    Whatever the case this site:
    http://www.immspec.com/RN/infores.htm
    recommends that you stay with your sponsoring employer for a least 6 months before changing jobs.

    Roddy
  9. by   Rocknurse
    Quote from rodwill
    RockNurse,

    Are you positive you have an I-551 permanent resident card and not just an employment authorization status like a H-1 visa? Because getting a green card as I understand takes a lot longer than 4 months and the process happens here in the US not in an interview overseas. It also takes 6 months to 3 years to get processed. I just had mine renewed and it took a year to get my shiny new piece of plastic.

    Whatever the case this site:
    http://www.immspec.com/RN/infores.htm
    recommends that you stay with your sponsoring employer for a least 6 months before changing jobs.

    Roddy
    No, I definitely have a green card, and it took me 2 years to get it. The visa was issued in London at the American Embassy and the green card arrived a month after I did. I do not have an H1B. I am a permanent resident.

    Thanks for the link. I will check it out. Six months sounds perfect.
  10. by   Rocknurse
    Quote from rodwill
    RockNurse,

    Whatever the case this site:
    http://www.immspec.com/RN/infores.htm
    recommends that you stay with your sponsoring employer for a least 6 months before changing jobs.

    Roddy
    Where did you see this? I can't find it on that page.
  11. by   rodwill
    whoops sent you their links page!

    It's on http://www.immspec.com/whatisebgc.htm

    "It is not clearly stated, but we recommend that the foreign worker remain employed by the sponsoring employer for at least six (6) months after the visa is issued to show good intent regarding the employment relationship."

    So maybe there's some wiggle room for you. I'd still check with a lawyer tho.

    Roddy
  12. by   Rep
    HI! I once had a talk with an American recruiter here in the Philippines. I asked him regarding contracts where nurses want to get out. He told me that a nurse can get out of his contract provided the nurse will pay the agency all the cost incurred in the processing of the green card. Usually up to $10,000. Also the agency will release the nurse from the contract if he/she didn't pass the NCLEX or have done something immoral that could contribute against the patients' well being. Just the same the nurse will still pay the cost of the processing.

    If you get out of the contract without telling your agency, you are liable for a criminal suit. If you read your contract of employment, there is always a clause there that specifies about suit.

    As for deportation,I don't have any idea on that.

    Why don't you have a face to face meeting with your agency and tell them about your problem.

    Personally, I would not agree with what you are doing now. If your only reason to be with the agency is that you are only after the green card will not excuse you from the responsibilities attached with the agency which you signed. If your reason is that they short-changed you in the contract, giving you a salary below the minimum wage then that would be very valid. But for only after the green card is not. Your actions undermean the thousand of foreign nurses whose noble goal is to find work in the US and help their families back home.

    You also mention that you want to work in another state, you should have choose an agency that could place you there. There are thousands of them in the US. Anyway, good luck!
  13. by   Rocknurse
    Quote from Rep
    HI! I once had a talk with an American recruiter here in the Philippines. I asked him regarding contracts where nurses want to get out. He told me that a nurse can get out of his contract provided the nurse will pay the agency all the cost incurred in the processing of the green card. Usually up to $10,000. Also the agency will release the nurse from the contract if he/she didn't pass the NCLEX or have done something immoral that could contribute against the patients' well being. Just the same the nurse will still pay the cost of the processing.

    If you get out of the contract without telling your agency, you are liable for a criminal suit. If you read your contract of employment, there is always a clause there that specifies about suit.

    As for deportation,I don't have any idea on that.

    Why don't you have a face to face meeting with your agency and tell them about your problem.

    Personally, I would not agree with what you are doing now. If your only reason to be with the agency is that you are only after the green card will not excuse you from the responsibilities attached with the agency which you signed. If your reason is that they short-changed you in the contract, giving you a salary below the minimum wage then that would be very valid. But for only after the green card is not. Your actions undermean the thousand of foreign nurses whose noble goal is to find work in the US and help their families back home.

    You also mention that you want to work in another state, you should have choose an agency that could place you there. There are thousands of them in the US. Anyway, good luck!
    Please don't assume anything, and I would appreciate you losing your superior and sanctimonious tone. There is no need to lecture me, because I have been through hell to get where I am today. I begged the agency for 2 years to get me to the East Coast, which they said they would, and when it came to placement time, they said they had nothing in the whole of the East Coast. I had to move a thousand miles away from my newly-wed partner, and now face a further two years apart because of this agency. I also earn less than all the other nurses I work with and receive no differential. I am in a strange state on my own and am struggling to cope with bills. I have to work 6 days a week to be able to afford to live and am feeling very stressed. The hospital I work in is dreadful...no doctors at night, no equipment, and very unsafe practises. I am an educated professional and I have been conned. I desperately wanted to get to America to be with my partner, but this was the only way. We have already been apart for 3 and a half years, and quite frankly, I have had enough. By the time we are able to live together it will be 5 years, and no couple should have to deal with that. We have responsibilities on the East Coast so my partner cannot move to be with me in Arizona. I have specialist skills, and feel that I should be able to be rewarded much more appropriately if I am free from my contract and can find my own job. I am in a very difficult position and I just need advice. I am quite capable of making decisions, and I will soon be in a position to buy my way out of my contract. However, I don't think this agency deserve a penny.

    Please take time to find out about someone's personal situation before you pass judgement about someone. My reasons for coming here are just as "noble" as yours.
  14. by   caramel
    Well written Rock Nurse.
    do what you can do luvvie .Ther's nothing more miserable than staying where, you are not happy.and as for Rep please get your facts Right Next time. Rock nurse CHIN UP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!.

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