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Making The Way For Foreign Nurses

Posted On:
May 10, 2016
Posted By:
Justin Burton

Making The Way For Foreign Nurses

While all types of jobs are important, U.S. immigration law prioritizes the need for foreign nurses.  In doing so, the U.S. provides various options for foreign nurses to obtain temporary work visas and permanent residence here in the U.S.  A nationwide shortage of nurses has encouraged the U.S. to incentivize more foreign nurses to provide their expertise here.  An immigration attorney can give you more information about how you as a foreign nurse, or as a representative of a business who wishes to hire a foreign nurse should proceed to take full advantage of these rules.  

The H-1B Visa

In order to work in the U.S. temporarily, a foreign nurse will need to obtain an H-1B visa; a popular temporary work visa for foreign nationals with job offers for positions that the U.S. considers “specialty occupations.”  The starting point for an application for an H-1B visa would be to file an I-129 petition with USCIS (the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services).  The burden would be on the potential employer to show that the nursing position is a “specialty occupation.”  This is a four-part test that includes factors such as:

  1. Does the position require a minimum of a bachelor’s degree or higher?
  2. Is the degree requirement for the job common to the industry or is the job itself so complex that it requires a degree?
  3. Does this specific employer usually require a degree for the position?
  4. Does the nature of the duties performed in the position correlate with the attainment of a degree (Bachelor’s or higher)?

The employer would only have to show that one of these is met.  It is not enough to simply show that the prospective employee has a bachelor’s or master’s degree; you must show that the job requires one.  For nursing positions that require shorter certifications without a bachelor’s degree, it will be difficult for an employer to prove that it is a “specialized occupation.”

Green Card Eligibility

In the U.S. a foreign nurse’s employer can also sponsor them for a green card, but only after first offering the nurse a full-time, permanent nurse position.  After this, the employer would complete the labor certification process (PERM), which is different for nursing positions than for others.  With regard to this process, a nursing position is a “Schedule A” position, meaning that it has been recognized in the U.S. as a position that we need more workers for.  This label allows an employer to skip a few steps that are usually required for the labor certification process:

  • Employers do not have to post advertisements for schedule A positions
  • Employers file the ETA Form 9089 with the USCIS and not the Department of Labor, which process non schedule A forms.  

After the 9089 form was approved, the employer can file the I-140 petition and the foreign nurse can then get a green card so long as no wait has been imposed.

Discuss Your Legal Options With A Green Card Attorney Chicago

While it may seem difficult determining how to properly hire a foreign nurse here in the United States, it does not have to be.  Kriezelman Burton & Associates knows how to best ensure that a foreign nurse or other foreign worker is able to be properly admitted into the U.S. to do their job.  Contact us today for help ensuring that the process is done as efficiently and correctly as possible.

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