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Dear Editor:
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 country. 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 requirement. 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.