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The April 22 editorial of the New York Times spoke of "Touchbacks" and "Triggers" which are viewed to be potential areas of compromise in a much heated and highly polarized debate on US immigration reform.

"Touchbacks" refers to the requirement that illegal immigrants leave the United States before re-entering on a legal footing within a six-year span.
"Triggers" on the other hand, refers to provisions that would only take effect after certain pre-determined conditions occur like reaching the quota of a specific visa category similar to what happened three weeks ago when the H1-B visa cap was reached within a day after the USCIS started receiving applications.
Also seen as a positive step to passing the Comprehensive Immigration Reform (CIR) was a poll by USA Today/Gallup showing 78 percent of Americans favoring earned citizenship.
While the editorial admits that the prospect of passing a new immigration law is difficult and would require hard compromises, it conceded that "the outlines of a bipartisan deal are becoming clearer."

This is good news to filipino nurses intending to migrate to the United States as the CIR includes provisions removing visa limits for foreign nurses until 2017.


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The Hammond Law Group (HLG) announced the introduction of two (2) new bills in the United States senate believed to be beneficial to international healthcare workers, specifically nurses and physical therapists.
The first bill is a re-introduction of last year's SKIL Bill (S. 1083). Introduced by Senator John Cornyn, it is co-sponsored by four other Senators. Among them, Senator Kay Hutchison, known supporter of Schedule A visa reform advocacies. Last month, Hutchison introduced an amendment to the 9/11 bill seeking to recapture 90,000 visas for foreign nurses and physical therapists. It was, however, deleted from the approved version of the bill.

HLG speculates that this year's new SKIL Bill will contain the same provisions as the previous one removing the cap for nurse visas.

The second bill (S. 1092), seeking to raise the H-1 visa quota, was sponsored by Nebraska Senator Chuck Hagel. Last week, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) said that H-1B cap was immediately reached one day after it started receiving applications.

The labor department said Wednesday that the Philippines and Libya are set to sign a health accord next week similar to the existing agreement between RP and South Korea.

Under the agreement, Libyan health services will hire more filipino health workers, including medical and nursing faculty.

Labor secretary Arturo Brion clarified that the sending of health workers will be exclusively done by both governments and not through any private recruitment agencies.

The Philippines also signed an agreement last week with Bahrain on an exchange training and recruitment program for Filipino nurses and other health professionals.

Some 8,000 Filipino nurses, construction workers and engineers are currently working in Libya.

POEA to Rule on Case vs Sentosa this Week

The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) is set to come up with a ruling on the case filed by filipino nurses in New York against Sentosa Recruitment Agency for violating the terms of their recruitment contract.

Salvador Tuy, the group's counsel, said Sentosa violated POEA recruitment rules and regulations by making the nurses work for Avalon Gardens, which does not appear in the POEA-approved contracts with Sentosa Recruitment Agency in Manila.

The case was filed April last year which resulted to a suspension of Sentosa's recruitment activities in the Philippines. However, the suspension was immediately lifted when former presidential chief of staff, senatorial candidate Mike Defensor allegedly interfered in Sentosa's behalf.

Tuy is urging the POEA to re-impose a preventive suspension on Sentosa to protect other Filipino nurses from suffering the same fate as his clients.

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Philippines, Bahrain Sign Health Accord

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Wednesday announced the signing of a Memorandum of Agreement on Health Services Cooperation between the Philippines and Bahrain.

The agreement was reached after a series of talks that started last year on the possibility of the Philippines supplying more nurses to Bahrain.

Under the accord, the two nations will establish an ethical framework that will guide the recruitment policies and procedures of receiving countries and to create alliances between the Philippines and Bahrain's health care and educational institutions to produce sustainable international education and professional development programs intended to boost the supply of qualified nurses.

Philippine Ambassador to Bahrain Eduardo Pablo Maglaya signed the MOA on behalf of the Philippine government while Bahraini Health Minister Dr. Nada Abbas Haffadh represented his government in the signing ceremony in Manama, Bahrain.

Some 1,000 Filipino nurses and medical professionals currently work in government and private hospitals around Bahrain. ...

Related News:

The labor department, tasked to oversee the retake of the compromised June 2006 nurse licensure examination, said that approximately 10,000 nurses signed up for the board exam retake this June.
A little over 17,000 passed the leaked nurse licensure examination last June 2006.
It added that 9,450 of those who registered for the retake also signed up for the free review classes facilitated by the country's top nursing schools.
A web portal,, was created to facilitate online registrations for the government-funded special review classes.


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