Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a significant increase in the need for nurses. Due to the shortages of registered nurses in medically underserved communities and rural areas, more immigrant nurse visas have opened. Considering that, the Department of Labor (DOL) has determined that hiring immigrant professionals would not displace available US workers, and Schedule A occupations allowed employers to omit PERM Labor Certification, (i.e., the first step of the process of gaining employed-based green cards).
Here’s an explanation of the process by the U.S. Immigration and Nationality Lawyers at the NPZ Law Group.
1. Prevailing Wage Determination (PWD):
Employers must acquire a PWD from the DOL first for a Schedule A I-140 petition despite skipping the first step. PWDs must be filed online and included with the I-140 petition.
When positions are categorized under a Collective Bargaining Agreement (“CBA”) employers must provide a notice to the Union Representative and copies of the pertinent portions of the CBA to submit PWDs. Thus, the DOL will defer to the CBA’s wage provisions when determining the prevailing wage for the offered positions instead of the amount based on the wage database by the Occupational Employment Statistics (“OES”).
2. Prepare and File the Schedule A Nurse (I-140) Petition:
Applicants can file the I-140 petition with the USCIS after the PWD is received. This is a petition by the employer, which verifies specific employment terms. It shows that the employer is able to pay the prevailing wage and requests the USCIS to recognize the position as a Schedule A shortage position. This can allow employees to file their I-485 Adjustment of Status (AOS) application seeking Lawful Permanent Resident status.
3. I-485 Adjustment of Status Application:
An employee and eligible family members (spouse or children below age 21) may send in their I-485 green card applications in addition to the I-140 petition. They can submit the I-485 green card application even after the I-140 petition is approved. Individuals applying from countries with unavailable/backlogged visa numbers, such as India and China, must submit the I-485 after the visa numbers are available again.
4. International Nurse Recruitment (Immigrant Visa through the US Consulate Overseas):
An employer can submit a Consular Processed I-140 petition through the National Visa Center if the nurse is not in the US currently or in another valid nonimmigrant visa status (typically an F-1 student in their authorized work period [OPT] post-graduation). In that case, the nurse must wait for an appointment for an Immigrant Visa in the country in which he or she currently resides to enter the US with a Permanent Resident status and to start working for the sponsoring employer.
If you have any questions or need any additional information about US or Canadian Immigration and Nationality Laws, please feel free to contact the immigration and nationality lawyers at the NPZ Law Group. If you have more questions about how these laws in the US may impact you or your family, contact the lawyers specialized in US Immigration and Nationality laws at our law firm. You can also send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or you can call us at 201-670-0006 (x104). In addition to that, we invite you to find more information on our website at www.visaserve.com