To the question of whether or not registered nurses are, or should be,
eligible for H-1B, it is quite fortunate that the Executive Associate
Commissioner, Office of Field Operations, INS, has spoken on the issue. In
a memo dated 11/27/02 directed to the Directors of the various Service
Centers, as well as the Director of the appeals unit, the memo clearly
states that critical care nurses can be shown to qualify as specialty
workers, entitled to H-1B visas.
Fortunately as well, it was not, as Attorney Murray suggested, necessary to
go to Federal District Court to pursue the position. Someone with better
understanding at INS, in Washington, finally understood and accepted the
obvious position espoused by our attorney for the last few years, that
critical care nurses require much more training than ward nurses and can
qualify for H-1B visas.
The next battle will be to get the visa screen removed as a requirement for
nurses. We should be placing as few obstacles as possible in the way of
RNs willing to come here and work, not setting unreasonable barriers in
their way. For example, the nurses must pass their CGFNS test and/or NCLEX
in English. This has been, when taken in conjunction with the TOEFL
examination, sufficient in the past to allow foreign nurses to enter. It
should be sufficient now with the critical need for nurses throughout our
As to why the Visa Screen is an unreasonable barrier, this is left to a
later letter. But make no mistake, the Test of Spoken English is used in
an unreasonable manner to keep nurses out. The amount of time taken by
CGFNS to process cases keeps nurses out. Despite the fact that the visa
screen rests in law, the decision to use it is political and policy. The
cost of the process keeps nurses out as well. It is not a reasonable
Occasionally well thought out positions, even if contrary to the general
consensus on an issue, prevail when put to the test. It is apparent, in
view of the position taken by the Executive Associate Commissioner in the
Office of Field Operations, that our attorney understood the law far better
than certain self-styled experts.
Brian E. Grutman, Executive Vice President
Pilot Employment Agency II, Inc.
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