Cap on nurses' green cards may close soon

  1. The Citizenship and Immigration Service is indicating that available green cards for foreign nurses may soon be reached. This applies to foreign (RN) nurses who have passed the NCLEX test (and are presently in the U.S. on visitor, student or other work visas) to apply for permanent status under schedule A.

    Up to now, nurses here legally are allowed to stay in the United States and work as health care professionals while their applications for green cards were being processed. There is a 245k provision of the law that even allows nurses to apply to stay and work in the U.S. up to 180 days after their legal status has expired. This is about to change, according to CIS bulletins, when the present number of visas available for immediate processing reaches the cap established by Congress.

    Once the cap is reached, nurses may still apply but cannot get a work permit or stay in the U.S. as a green card applicant. They would have to wait for the work based priority date to come up for their green card. This date is about four years away based on the last State Department visa bulletin issued in September.

    If they want to stay in the U.S. while waiting for the priority date, they will have to stay in another visa status, such as a student or a non-immigrant worker (like a H-1B visa). For most nurses, this will require leaving the U.S. while they wait for the priority date to come up.

    Registered Nurses will be required to submit evidence that they have passed the NCELX test and receive certification by the CGFNS (Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools) before they will be granted a work based green card. This type of certification is called the visa screen. Nurses are required to pass an English proficiency test to demonstrate that they have the ability to read and write English at a professional level and speak well enough to be understood in the workplace. These tests are called TOEFL and IELTS. The English test scores must be submitted to CGFNS. It usually takes a number of months before a visa screen certificate will be issued.

    Full Story: Cap on nurses' green cards may close soon [Philippine News Online,Philippines]
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  2. 21 Comments

  3. by   RNsRWe
    Perhaps without a flood of foreign nurses to fill the ranks, institutions that have long benefitted from them will have to raise the working conditions to a level that encourages American nurses to take and keep those same jobs. They won't be able to rely on a steady stream of fresh workers from the Phillipines but will instead have to negotiate for better conditions for those qualified and experienced, here, now.

    I don't see the situation for US citizens working as nurses improving otherwise.
  4. by   Rep
    The reason for this is because the 50,000 visas that were "recaptured" last year, May 2005, are about nearly gone. The 50,000 visas are for nurses and PTs only. So without new visas, backlog will set in as far as four to five years and only a trickle of nurses will set foot in the US from those affected countries. Countries that will be afffected by the backlog are Philippines, India, China, Mexico and a few others. I don't think UK, Australia, NZ and European countries will be affected so it means nurse recruiters will just go to these countries and hire nurses there.
  5. by   Vanty11
    I think that everyone should cut us some slack. We work twice as hard to pass the NCLEX and we are qualified enough to work as an RN so why not take advantage of the fact that we are looking for jobs in your country. If anything our native countries should be more upset that we are travelling hundreds and thousands of miles to find jobs.
  6. by   RNsRWe
    Quote from Vanty11
    I think that everyone should cut us some slack. We work twice as hard to pass the NCLEX and we are qualified enough to work as an RN so why not take advantage of the fact that we are looking for jobs in your country. If anything our native countries should be more upset that we are travelling hundreds and thousands of miles to find jobs.
    Has nothing to do with you or how qualified you may be for the job. Has everything to do with the economics and other considerations for citizens of the United States. Cut US some slack and don't assume we are simply xenophobic: there are valid reasons for concern for the American nursing profession as it stands now, and as it is expected to continue.

    And yes, your native countries WOULD be upset, if you got here and didn't find ready employment and send back money. But as it stands now, it's hardly a problem for them, isn't it?
  7. by   Rep
    As said the backlog has started. And it is not just the PIC countries, Mexico but also the European countries that are affected. For Schedule A where nurses belong, the Priority Date move back to one year, Oct 2005.

    So there will be no processing for nurses whose PDs fall after 2005.

    http://travel.state.gov/visa/frvi/bu...etin_3046.html
  8. by   Vanty11
    No disrespect intended. The fact is that there is a shortage of nurses and as qualified professionals we should be given an equal opportunity. Our countries would benefit from the money yes, but we did not choose to be put in that situation.
  9. by   RNsRWe
    Quote from Vanty11
    No disrespect intended. The fact is that there is a shortage of nurses and as qualified professionals we should be given an equal opportunity. Our countries would benefit from the money yes, but we did not choose to be put in that situation.
    The actual, true "shortage" of nurses has been the subject of much debate and discussion. When the US has hundreds of thousands of nurses who have chosen other fields, or chosen to retire early, rather than continue to work AS nurses, one could consider the "shortage" to be an industry-created situation rather than an actual problem.

    Make the working environment one in which more American nurses would want to work, and your "shortage" disappears. Keep the situation such that only the die-hards seem to last, along with the fresh imports from other countries, and the situation keeps worsening.
  10. by   dindog
    If you'll notice, the one who wrote the article is an immigration lawyer. There is a conflict of interest, right? He did not even mention where he got his facts re: green card cap. Just a thought though.
  11. by   Rep
    Quote from dindog
    If you'll notice, the one who wrote the article is an immigration lawyer. There is a conflict of interest, right? He did not even mention where he got his facts re: green card cap. Just a thought though.
    Everything the lawyer said is true, by November backlog of visas for nurses will set in. Check International and Philippine Nurisng forum.
  12. by   Nemhain
    Quote from RNsRWe
    Perhaps without a flood of foreign nurses to fill the ranks, institutions that have long benefitted from them will have to raise the working conditions to a level that encourages American nurses to take and keep those same jobs. They won't be able to rely on a steady stream of fresh workers from the Phillipines but will instead have to negotiate for better conditions for those qualified and experienced, here, now.

    I don't see the situation for US citizens working as nurses improving otherwise.
    :yeahthat:

    Yes, perhaps better working conditions will be an incentive for some of the 400,000+ American nurses who aren't at retirement age and not working at all to come back to nursing.
  13. by   jmb22
    Hi, I understand there will be a shortage of green cards by November. How are the last Green Cards going to be issued? Meaning, are they going to issue Green cards to Nurses who applied for it before March 2006, May 2006 or prior to those months. I sent the DS230 two weeks ago to my lawyer, and according to him. the next step is the interview at the US consulate. Am I well advanced in the process to expect to be issued the Green card???
    Thanx for your help.
    One more thing: I don't really trust the lawyer. He has been wasting a lot of time at different stages of the application. Do you know if there is a way to put pressure on him? May be I should talk to the Administration of the Hospital that is sponsoring me. The immigration lawyer is contracted by the Hospital for immigration/Green card application issues. I have the feeling that this is not his first priority because he certainly has a long term contract with the Hospital, and therefore doesn't really care about individual cases.
    Thanx for ur suggestions.
  14. by   oneLoneNurse
    While I have never applied for the Green Card my experience with immigration lawyers, here in the US has been similar. It seems like they tend to wait a long time to get the work done. My thoughts are that the lawyer himself is always the front man. That is how lawyers make the money they do (carpenters, electricians and car mechanics: the same) since they are able to bill for lawyer hours, but pay for paralegal ones. He either gets his junior partner to do the work or one of his paralegals. I for one question why I just don't hire the guy who resides in India to do the work. Unfortunately, overtime it has been important for me to talk to my lawyer in English(guess in your case maybe French; please don't take offence at this comment: as an aside I believe our true friends/allies are the French since Paris was the only really country to try to stop our present government from going where they shouldn't have gone (BUT, hey that's another thread !)) I can understand. So that talking to the guy/frontman/lawyer a few miles from where I live has been vital.

    He doesn't care about each individual case though he will try and make you think he does. That being said I would probably trust that he will come through since it has been my experience that though the wait seems forever, his office follows through with the work as promised.

    And "no" I don't think there is a way to put pressure on him.

    Good luck. I am going through a similar instance right now in updating a TN.

    Quote from jmb22
    One more thing: I don't really trust the lawyer. He has been wasting a lot of time at different stages of the application. Do you know if there is a way to put pressure on him? May be I should talk to the Administration of the Hospital that is sponsoring me. The immigration lawyer is contracted by the Hospital for immigration/Green card application issues. I have the feeling that this is not his first priority because he certainly has a long term contract with the Hospital, and therefore doesn't really care about individual cases.
    Thanx for ur suggestions.
    Last edit by oneLoneNurse on Oct 13, '06

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