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Bloggings: December 4, 2007

by Christopher T. Musillo of the Hammond Law Group

Editor's note: Here are the latest entries from Hammond Law Group's blog.

November 30, 2007

Partnering with

Hammond Law Group (HLG) is pleased to announce that our Healthcare & Immigration Blog will now also be featured on All posts will be mirrored at both the Healthcare & Immigration Blog site and our new Blog Page. HLG lawyers expect to comment and interact with users from both sites. is the premier immigration news site. HLG attorneys have published a variety of articles on the site over the last few years and have spoken on teleconferences. We have also contributed to’s The Nurse Immigration Book.

Our hope is that we will expand our readership base. In turn, more and more users will become aware of the labor shortages in healthcare and immigrants’ contributions to alleviating those shortages.

Ultimately we believe that increased and specialized quotas for healthcare workers are an essential part of the solution. Most academics that have studied the issue have drawn similar conclusions. Let’s hope that Congress heeds the call.

November 26, 2007

Back from Thanksgiving

While most Americans take a 4 day weekend for Thanksgiving, Congress has taken an extra week.  This doesn’t mean that nothing is happening behind the scenes.  Most Congressional staffers are working (and have been through the holiday). 

It now appears that all of the budget bills – Labor HHS, Defense, etc. – will be consolidated into one large Omnibus budget bill.  Unfortunately things do not look great that a nurse amendment will be added to the Omnibus bill.  Still, lobbying continues and it would not be a complete surprise.

November 16, 2007

December Visa Bulletin
November 14, 2007

The DOS has just released the December Visa Bulletin. Philipine EB 3 has moved to September 1, 2001, and India EB 3 is up to May 1, 2001. Both are small movements from November.

President vetoes Labor HHS
November 13, 2007

As expected, President Bush has just vetoed the Labor HHS bill. This could prove to be good for a nurse visa amendment since it may open the door for Congressional Representatives and Senators to attach urgent legislation such as our amendment. While HLG is aware that this is being raised as part of the discussion, it is probably still less likely to happen, than more likely.

medicalMonitor - November 2007
November 06, 2007

HLG's November medical Monitor has just been published. If you would like to subscribe to this free publication, or any HLG publications, please follow these instructions.

Labels: , ,

Bridge Amendment fails to survive
November 02, 2007

The Bridge Amendment that we all had such high hopes for last week has failed to survive conference. This is an enormous setback to our effort.

All is not lost however, there is still a chance for the amendment to be offered in one of the forthcoming budget bills, including a likely omnibus at years end.

Call to Action: Say No to the H-1B Fee Increase Amendment
October 31, 2007

The House and Senate appropriations committees are scheduled to meet this Thursday, November 1st to discuss the combination of the Defense, Military Construction-VA and the Labor-HHS-Education appropriations bills into a single bill. As part of these discussions, the committees will consider including or excluding the Grassley-Sanders amendment (H.ADMT.3396) which adds an additional $3500 fee to the already excessive H-1B visa fees. This additional $3500 is to be used towards the creation of a special education fund to promote studies in the fields of math, science, and engineering.

HLG joins the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) in strongly opposing this fee increase. The addition of such a fee would make it even more difficult for US businesses to hire skilled foreign workers. We, at HLG, are encouraging clients to voice their opposition against this fee hike by sending a letter to your Congressmen or calling the conferees directly. For further information, please see AILA’s Take Action website located: or contact your HLG attorney.

Conference continues
October 29, 2007

The Conference on Labor HHS is continuing. We suspect that the Conference will be finished this week, although no one knows for sure. The Committee is probably trying to structure the Labor HHS bill in such as way as to make it palatable for the President, although short of taking money off of the table, that is unlikley.

As for our amendment, it is going to be difficult, but we've been encouraged. Last week's defeat of the Dream Act certainly hurt our chances. If you or yoru employer are familair with any of the Senators on the Conference please call them and encourage them to support the Schumer/Huchison amendment. You can use this to frame your discussions.

Bridge Amendment added to Labor HHS!

October 23, 2007

We crossed an enormous hurdle tonight when the Senate formally passed and added our bridge amendment to the Labor HHS appropriations bill!

The amendment calls for 61,000 visas for Schedule A occupations and their immediate family members. Employers will need to pay a Training Fee of $1,500 for each nurse immigrant. Certain healthcare facilities can have the fee waived. There is also a provision that calls for nurses to attest that they don't owe their native country any financial obligations. This is fantastic news and the huge step in the process.

The Senate also passed an increase to the H1 Training fee, which was offered by Sen. Grassley. New training fee= $3,500!

For the nurse amendment, we still have to survive the conference, the likely veto, and re-conference. The House and Senate will formally begin their Conference on Wednesday and Thursday. Senators have been informally conferencing for about a month.

We need everyone to send thank yous to the Senators that they have been working on -- and remind them that it is critical that the Senators fight to make sure that the Nurse Amendment survives Conference. The biggest risk is probably that some Congressmen will not like the $3500 Grassley H1 tax. If that happens Grassley may fight to take out all immigration amendments -- including our Nurse amendment.

Once we survive Conference, we'll worry about the President's veto threat....

UPDATE: The training fee is remaining $1,500, but there is a new H-1 fee of $3,500. There are now these fees for H-1 cases:

- $320 regular filing fee
- $500 security fee
- $1500 H-1 training fee
- $3500 supplemental fee
- $1000 premium processing fee (if necessary)
October 23, 2007

Bridge Amendment offered - two actually!

Two different versions of the Bridge amendment – either of which would eliminate retrogression for Schedule A workers – were offered in the Senate over the weekend. Both amendments could be debated this week, perhaps as early as today. If formally passed and attached to the base bill, either amendment would have to be acted on by the House of Representatives, likely through the Conference Committee. After Conference, if the amendment survives, the entire bill would have to be approved by President Bush. Still, the mere offering of the amendments is a significant step in the legislative process, and significantly raises the chances of ending the retrogression of Schedule A workers.

The first, SA 3404 to HR 3043, seeks to amend the forthcoming Labor Health and Human Services appropriations bill, by recapturing 61,000 unused visas for Schedule A workers and their derivative family members. SA 3404 is co-sponsored by long-time champions Sen. Schumer (D-NY) and Sen. Hutchison (R-TX).

The second, SA 3442, is also offered as an amendment to HR 3403. SA 3442 is a much more comprehensive amendment that seeks to recapture visas for not just Schedule A workers and their derivative family members, but also for conventional EB workers.

The purpose of offering two amendments is to hedge the bets of the champions. We'll know shortly if their strategy works. Debate on the two amendments could start as soon as today, so stay tuned to the blog and CSPAN2.