There has understandably been a lot of anxiety in our community. Take this post to be a summary of where we are in the lobbying effort.
First, keep in mind that NO laws have been passed by this Congress this year. NOTHING. IN ANY AREA OF LAW. Please do not take the inaction on the Schedule A retrogression front as the US’ lack of recognition of the contributions of foreign trained healthcare workers. Instead you should understand that the Congress is still trying to prioritize its issues and work on procedural issues. Essentially our problem right now isn’t so much convincing Congressmen about the merits of Schedule A. Our problem is overall Congressional inaction. HLG is still very positive that once the log-jam in Congress is solved that we can look forward to helpful retrogression legislation.
In any event, there are two different types of bills, BOTH of which are being pushed:
CIR – Comprehensive Immigration Reform. This bill seeks to massively overhaul the US’ immigration laws. Last year a version that was passed by the Senate included an amendment by Sen. Brownback. The Brownback Amendment called for Schedule A occupations to be quota-free for 10 years. While this is the preferred legislation (since it solves our problem until 2017), it is the more challenging piece of legislation.
Recapture – Therefore we are also actively pushing a smaller piece of legislation (often called a “recapture”), which is designed to grant Schedule A occupations a special allotment of visas. This is the same process that we used in 2005.
Now the real question that everyone should be asking themselves is: how can I help?
Here is what you can do:
1. If you are a nurse in Illinois and/or have friends and family members who are in Illinois, please raise this issue with your Chief Nursing Officer or the Recruiting staff at your hospital. Explain the retrogression to them and how it is directly impacting Illinois’ ability to attract skilled foreign-trained nurses.
2. If your CNO or Recruiting Staff are willing to help, please have them contact Chris Musillo (firstname.lastname@example.org). Chris will explain what they can do to help.
Thanks for everyone’s kind words and continued help. While this blog has been a lot of fun, we look forward to the day that we can post: RETROGRESSION FIXED!