years ago, immigrant visa numbers for skilled workers began retrogressing. The
skilled worker group includes registered nurses (RNs) and physical therapists (PTs).
In 2006, employers petitioned RNs and PTs to fill those positions for which
there is an acute shortage. These petitions, combined with those for other
skilled workers, created a huge demand for visa numbers resulting in the
current six-year backlog.
The last six years proved
to be a significant period during which the global recession severely impacted
the USeconomy. Many petitioning employers went out of business, downsized, were
acquired or were otherwise forced to reorganize.
years later, many of these petitioners no longer exist or are unable to continue
to support the earlier RNs and PT immigrant visa petitions. The beneficiaries
of these petitions are dismayed to find out that they no longer have a sponsor
available to allow them to immigrate now that their visa numbers are available.
What most do not realize is that there is hope for them. A second chance to
immigrate exists without lengthy delays.
The USimmigration regulations specifically allow these RNs and PTs to retain their
earlier priority date when petitioned by a new employer if certain conditions
are met. First, the RNs and PTs must be beneficiaries of an approved immigrant
visa petition commonly referred to as an I-140.
immigrant visa petition must not have been withdrawn or revoked for fraud. If
these conditions are met, a new petition filed now on behalf of the RN or PT
will be assigned the earlier, 2006 priority date instead of a 2012 priority
For example, an RN was
petitioned on May 1, 2006 and received an approval of that petition. While
waiting for the visa number to become available, the petitioner, or sponsoring
employer, goes out of business. A new employer is willing to petition the RN.
Because the previous
visa petition was approved, the immigration service assigns the May 1, 2006
priority date to the new petitioner. Since visa numbers are now available for
the May 1, 2006 priority date, the RN can immigrate as soon as the immigration
service approves the petition.
This is a
significant second chance for RNs and PTs who lost their original sponsors. Their
chances for immigrating did not die with the passing of their original
sponsors. Furthermore, changes since 2006 now allow the US immigration service to review
and approve an immigrant visa petition in 15-calendar days.
This major reduction
in processing times allows RNs and PTs to immigrate to the US faster once they recapture their
earlier priority date. Now that the 2006 priority dates are becoming current, many
RNs and PTs are despondent and believe
their earlier petitions were a waste of time and resources. That is not true.
They may be able to retain their earlier priority date. Experienced RNs and PTs
are in great demand, especially RNs and PTs who can recapture an earlier
priority date and immigrate quickly.
Now is the time for
RNs and PTs who were petitioned six years ago, to dig through those dusty files
for their approved immigrant visa petitions. It is time to breathe new life
into those petitions and explore new opportunities in the US.
Author's Note: The analysis and suggestions
offered in this column do not create a lawyer-client relationship and are not a
substitute for the individual legal research and personalized representation
that is essential to every case.
Robert L. Reeves is a licensed California attorney and
by the California State Bar as an Immigration and Nationality Law Specialist.
been specializing in immigration law for over 30 years and is admitted to
practice before the US Supreme Court, the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth
Circuit, several US District Courts and California State Courts. He is the
Managing Partner of Reeves & Associates with offices located in Pasadena, San
Francisco, Las Vegas and Makati City – Unit 507 Tower One Ayala Triangle, also
known as the Philippine Stock Exchange Plaza Makati , 6767 Ayala Avenue, Makati
City, Philippines 1226 (corner Paseo de Roxas, beside Ninoy Aquino Monument). Philippine Contact Numbers: 759-6777
or Toll Free: 1-800-10-773-3837 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.rreeves.com