way to acquire lawful permanent resident status in the U.S. is through
your employment. This method has become
especially common in recent years for health-care workers due to the severe
shortages that currently exist in the U.S. health-care industry. Nurses, Physical Therapists and other
individuals trained in the health-care field have been able to capitalize on
the lack of qualified workers already in the U.S. by more quickly obtaining
lawful permanent resident status (“green card”).
despite the large number of people attempting to obtain permanent resident
status as health-care workers, it remains a complex area of U.S. immigration law. It is a common misconception that merely
possessing a Bachelor’s or Master’s Degree from a foreign institution will lead
directly to a green card. On the
contrary, there are many procedural steps that must be closely followed to
successfully immigrate to the U.S.as a health-care worker.
workers in certain occupations have been granted distinct advantages in their
pursuit of lawful permanent resident status. One advantage is that certain
professional nurses and physical therapists are not required to have their
employer file a Labor Certification with the Department of Labor.
several categories of health-care workers that are not required to have a labor
certification filed for them, including certain professional nurses and physical
therapists. However, the health-care
workers that qualify for this exemption are still required to have a certificate
attesting to their professional qualifications.
required certificate will only be issued if the intending immigrant has
sufficient education and training, oral and written English competency, and can
pass the occupation’s licensing or certification examination.
occupations requiring this certification are enumerated in the Federal
Regulations. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (“USCIS”) will also
make an individualized determination based on the intending immigrant’s job
duties to determine if the position falls into one of the listed health-care
health-care worker’s employer must file the required petition with the USCIS. The USCIS will review the petition in
conjunction with the employer’s required financial documents and the applicable
documents regarding the alien’s qualifications for the offered position. Health-care
workers must also document that they are eligible for licensure in the state of
intended employment. The failure to
submit all required information with the initial filing can result in the USCIS
issuing a “Request for Evidence” (“RFE”).
the approval of the employer’s petition, the intending immigrant may be granted
lawful permanent resident status once his or her priority date becomes current.
lawful permanent resident status in the U.S. is a viable and realistic
option for many foreign health-care workers. However, they should remember that
the process is complex, and that one small mistake may cause years of delay.
For this reason, it is always advisable to retain the services of an
experienced and knowledgeable attorney who is dedicated solely to the practice
of immigration law.
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