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Appeal Group's Trip to Philadelphia Postponed Indefinitely

The Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools (CGFNS) requested the five-man appeal panel to send position papers, computation data, and other documents prior to setting an appointment meeting.

“If they are convinced, then they will give us the date and time of our appointment. So, we’re waiting for it until next week," Bacolod City Rep. Monico Puentevella said.

The CGFNS stressed on its website Saturday that a US trip by the group from the Philippines would no longer serve a purpose saying its decision is final. The announcement came after CGFNS Chief Executive Officer Barbara Nichols talked to Professional Regulations Commission (PRC) chair Leonor Rosero.

Meanwhile, President Arroyo is giving the five-man panel until March 4 to exhaust all means to appeal the decision of the Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools (CGFNS).

All Systems Go for Optional Partial Retake - Labor Department

Labor Secretary Arturo Brion said Monday that the optional partial retake of the controversial June 2006 nursing licensure examination is in place.
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The announcement came after Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Sergio Apostol urged June '06 nurses, who wish to work in the United States, to retake the compromised exam.
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"Retake the exam if you want to get to the States," Apostol told reporters at the Palace on Monday. "That is a rule in the United States. If you want to go to the States, you follow their rules, if you do not want, never mind," Apostol added.
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The labor department said that the retake will be subsidized by the Government. This means that the exam fees will be waived. Review classes will also be conducted by the country's top nursing schools.
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No useful purpose would be served by Dr. Rosero's traveling to Philadelphia

PHILADELPHIA, PA, USA, 8 PM EST February 23, 2007; 9 AM Manila Time, February 24, 2007 — Philippine Regulation Commission Chair Dr. Leonor Rosero and the Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools (CGFNS International) CEO Barbara Nichols spoke with each other by telephone Saturday morning, February 24 Manila time. Dr. Nichols requested the telephone conversation so that she might provide Dr. Rosero with additional information regarding CGFNS's recent decision to deny VisaScreen® certification to nurses licensed following the June 2006 licensure examination. A VisaScreen Certificate is required before any healthcare worker educated outside the U.S. can be issued an occupational visa to work in the United States.

During the conversation, Dr. Nichols assured Dr. Rosero that CGFNS was fully aware of and concerned about the hardship that its decision might cause to the June 2006 passers. Dr. Nichols noted, however, that the decision is final, and no useful purpose would be served by Dr. Rosero coming to the United States to make an "appeal" of that decision. The CGFNS CEO made several points during the conversation, among them:

  • CGFNS is not a Court or a Government agency. It is a private, nonprofit corporation. The Board of Trustees, the highest authority of that corporation, has made this decision. There is no process or provision for an appeal or reconsideration of a Board decision. There is no higher authority than the Board of Trustees.
  • The decision of the CGFNS Board of Trustees is required by U.S. immigration law in circumstances such as this. In this case, because passers of the June 2006 Philippine nursing licensure exam were found to have a license that was not comparable to a U.S. nursing license, the Board was required to determine that a VisaScreen Certificate may not be issued to such individuals.
  • The decision of the Board of Trustees on this issue was unanimous. There was not a single No vote.
  • As evidence of its compassion and concern about the consequences of its decision, CGFNS provided an opportunity for the June passers to "cure" their present ineligibility by re-taking the equivalent of Tests 3 and 5. CGFNS will therefore gladly accept the passing test scores of any nurse who had the courage to re-take the licensure exam--in whole or in part--in December 2006. And it has urged the Philippine Government to allow the June 2006 passers to re-take Tests 3 and 5 during 2007.
  • This decision of the CGFNS Board is final; the matter is settled.

Related News:
PRC bent on appealing CGFNS decision on nurses’ work visas (Inquirer.NET)

MANILA, Philippines -- The Professional Regulatory Commission will still appeal for a reconsideration of the decision of the US Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools to deny working visas to Filipino nurses who took the tainted June 2006 licensure exams unless they retake portions of the test.

CGFNS VisaScreen Updates

DoLE plans to administer nursing board retake (Inquirer.Net 02/20/2007)

MANILA, Philippines -- The Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE) plans to administer the retake of the tainted portions of the June 2006 nursing licensure exams, Labor Secretary Arturo Brion said Tuesday.

Appealing to CGFNS ‘useless,’ says Gordon (Inquirer.Net 02/20/2007)

MANILA, Philippines -- The government's plan to appeal the decision of the Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools (CGFNS) requiring nurses who passed the June 2006 board examination to retake two leak-tainted tests if they want to acquire US visas is useless, Senator Richard Gordon said Tuesday.

MANILA, Philippines -- While most Filipinos would trust passers of the controversial June 2006 nursing board exam to take care of them in sickness, they also agreed that opportunities for the nurses to work abroad would decrease as an aftermath of the cheating that marred the exams, recent surveys from the Social Weather Stations found.

MANILA, Philippines -- The Philippine government may open informal talks with the United States’ Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools (CGFNS) to ask for a "flexible implementation" of its policy requiring nurses who passed the June 2006 board exams to retake disputed portions of the test to be eligible for visas, an official said Monday.

Swallow the bitter pill, exec tells June ‘06 nursing passers (Inquirer.Net)

MANILA, Philippines -- Swallow the bitter pill if your request is rejected.

In case the US Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools would deny the government’s appeal, passers of the tainted June 2006 nursing licensure examination must accept the American organization’s decision not to give them VisaScreen certificates unless they comply with certain requirements, Dante Ang of the Commission on Filipinos Overseas said.

Study Tool: Animated Lectures

June 2006 Passers Not Qualified for VisaScreen Sans Exam Retake

The Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools (CGFNS) announced that June 2006 nurses are not eligible for a VisaScreen® Certificate. The decision came after a thorough investigation of the exam leakage issue.

The CGFNS sent a fact-finding team September last year to look into the controversy-marred licensure exam.

June 2006 passers, however, will be able to qualify for a
VisaScreen Certificate by retaking and passing Tests 3 and 5.

VisaScreen® Certificate is an immigration requirement under section 343 of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996.

Related Link:

CGFNS Official Accouncement

Related News:
‘No partial retake, no migration to US’

Philippines to Hold NCLEX in 2008

ABS-CBN's TV Patrol World reported today the approval of the Philippines' request to conduct NCLEX (National Council on Licensure Examination) examinations in the country. The approval came after nearly two (2) years of negotiations.

NCLEX is the US equivalent of the Philippine Nurse Licensure Examination.

Task force NCLEX, a mission from the Commission on Filipinos Overseas, Board of Nursing, and the Philippine Nurses Association went to the United States last week to finalize the negotiation of the conduct of NCLEX here.
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Related News:

Retrogression Update: Bill to Recapture 90,000 Unused Visa Numbers

The Hammond Law Group (HLG), a US-based immigration law firm, announced on its blog the possibility of a bill recapturing 90,000 unused visas from 2000-2004.

A similar retrogression relief was made when US President George W. Bush signed into law a bill recapturing 50,000 visas in May 2005. The recaptured visas ran out November last year.

Visit the HLG website

USCIS Proposes Fee Increases

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced a proposal to raise immigration filing fees by June of this year.

It explained that the proposed increases are in line with the agency's efforts to to meet national security requirements and customer service needs, and modernizes an outdated business infrastructure.

The Chair of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration, Citizenship, Refugees, Border Security and International Law, Representative Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) issued the following statement in relation to the proposed increases: “Although I want to ensure that USCIS has the necessary resources to carry out its mission, the scope and scale of this fee increase on immigration applications raises many questions for me. I plan to carefully examine the USCIS' new study and the justification for this increase with my colleagues on the Immigration Subcommittee before its implementation. Changes in the current fee structure must be fair and reasonable.”

Nurses are petitioned by employers using form I-140. Under the proposal, employers will be paying an additional $280 for every petition filed. The complete proposal is available here.

The USCIS predicts a 20% reduction in average processing times by 2009 as a result of the proposed increases.

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