The U.S. needs nurses and lots of them. Because there is a shortage, the U.S. Department of Labor has included registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, and licensed vocational nurses, along with some other health care professionals, on a list called Schedule A.
Being a Schedule A professional means you can use an expedited process to get a green card (lawful permanent residence status in the U.S.). The process fast-tracks your application for a green card.
In order to use the Schedule A process, you must have a bona fide, full-time, permanent job offer from a U.S. employer. However, unlike the employers of other immigrants, your employer will not have to submit an approved permanent labor certification to prove that there aren’t enough U.S. workers in the field. The Department of Labor has predetermined that there are not enough U.S. nurses to fill the nation’s needs.
Instead, your employer submits an application for a permanent labor certification along with its petition to hire you. This is a much simpler process.
The permanent labor certification application will include a prevailing wage determination from the Department of Labor’s National Prevailing Wage Center. This is to ensure that you will receive at least the prevailing wage for your occupation in the U.S. It also requires a notice of filing to be sent to any union or, if there is no union, to all your employer’s employees.
Your employer will also need to submit Form I-140 Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker and a visa petition for you. You must also meet the criteria for that visa. For example, if the visa petition is for an EB-2 visa, you would need to have an advanced degree or a bachelor’s degree and at least five years of progressive experience in your specialty.
You will need to submit a health care worker certification statement
Registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, and licensed vocational nurses have a slightly different process to follow than other Schedule A workers, such as physical therapists.
You will need to submit a statement from the Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools (CGFNS) or a similar credentialing organization. This statement must verify that you:
- Have a valid, unrestricted license in the state where you plan to work
- Will be working in a state that verifies that foreign licenses are authentic
- Have passed the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) and
- Have graduated from certain English-language nursing programs
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If you are a nurse who meets these criteria and who has a job offer, contact Yew Immigration Law Group to help you complete the Schedule A process. This process can be somewhat complex, but Alison Yew is a specialist in immigration and nationality law certified by the State Bar of California.