It is expected that the final CIR bill will include a 10 yr exemption for Schedule A occupations. That having been said we won’t know exactly what it says until it is released. Keep in mind, that this is one step. Of course the current fragile compromise could break down; in that case the Senators will look for a Plan B.

If the Senate bipartisan working group on immigration strikes a deal, they then need to take it to the Senate at large and that body needs to pass the bill. This could happen by the month’s end.

Then the House needs to get to work. They could: (a) seek to pass the Strive Act which was introduced 60 days ago; (b) simply take the Senate’s bill and work off of that; (c) introduce a new House CIR; or (d) do nothing. HLG’s hunch is that (c) is the likely scenario, but the House CIR will probably have a lot of (a) and (b) in it. The House could pass a bill in June or maybe early July.

Once the House passes a bill then a “conference” is formed. A conference is a committee of leading House members and Senators who are charged with reconciling disparate parts of the House and Senate bill. The Conference committee would likely take up most of July. If they completed their work in July we could have a new CIR by August (Congress breaks for the month of August). Otherwise, the conference would continue in September and we would likely have a new CIR law in September or October 2007. The Schedule A provisions would likely take immediate effect. The new CIR bill would also likely (but not certainly) provide a nonimmigrant visa option for RNs (but not PTs, OTs, and other occupations that currently have H-1B options).

Because HLG’s most optimistic projection is July, we are still working with Congressional staff to secure a bridge provision that provides a small allotment of visas for Schedule A occupations. This is difficult because the tenor in Congress is that all immigrant legislation requests should be put on hold. The strategy here is to force all interested parties to the CIR bargaining table.