Last night Rep. Wexler (D – FL) introduced our legislation. It is HR 5924, and is co-sponsored by Rep. Sensenbrenner (R – WI). The Government Printing Office has not yet printed the legislation, but since the CTIHS has been instrumental in moving this bill, HLG is very familiar with the legislation.
The key points of the legislation are:
1. Lifting of retrogression for Schedule A workers. Any immigrant visa quotas or caps are waived for all visa applications filed for Shortage Occupations (Schedule A occupations: Physical Therapists and Registered Nurses), provided that the I-140 is filed prior to September 30, 2011.
2. 20,000 primary beneficiary quota. While there is no retrogression for Schedule A cases filed before September 30, 2011, Consulates may not approve more than 20,000 primary beneficiary visas in any one year. There is no quota for the immediate family members of such beneficiaries.
3. Expedited Review. The USCIS must review — and approve or issue an RFE — on all Schedule A I-140 cases within 30 days of receipt.
4. Grant Fee. All primary beneficiary nursing visas issued under this legislation must pay a fee of $1500. Katrina-effected and HPSA employers do not have to pay the fee.
5. Grant Program. These fees will fund a Grant program. Schools of nursing may draw on this fund based on their student populations. The fees are to be used to attract, train, and retain nursing faculty, purchase educational equipment, expand infrastructure, and attract students.
6. Liberalized US Citizenship for some Health Care workers. Time spent by US Permanent Resident Health acre workers in a developing country will not be held against them in their endeavors to become US citizens.
7. Obligation Attestation. Immigrant visa applicants must attest that they do not owe their country of residence or origin a financial obligation. An obligation is defined as financial assistance that the intending immigrant incurred to defray the costs of education in consideration for a commitment to continue to work in that county.
The fact that Rep. Sensenbrenner is co-sponsoring the legislation is particularly important. He is known as someone who is not “soft” on immigration. He was one of the first Congressmen to call for a fence on the US Southern border. He should signal to some members that this is the kind of immigration legislation that is positive for America.
This is a good time to remind everyone that we are still actively seeking contributions to the CTIHS. In the event that not enough contributions are received, we will have to stop retaining the lobbyists. Presently, we do not have enough funds to continue the effort through the summer. There is a very real chance of this legislation being passed this year and it would be a shame if the effort stalled so close to the finish line. If you are interested in contributing, please contact:
Christopher T. Musillo, Esq.
Hammond Law Group LLC
Note: Some people have mistakenly read this to mean that family members are not eligible for visas under HR 5924. That is not the case. Let me be clear: family members may enter the US as derivative beneficaries under HR 5924.