Recognizing the worsening nursing shortage in the United States and its effect on the U.S. healthcare and economy, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security through the Office of the Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS) Ombudsman has issued a memo outlining several recommendations in expediting the processing and approval of nurse visas.
After conducting several meetings with nursing organizations and stakeholders, the CIS Ombudsman acknowledged that the limited number of nurse visa remains to be the primary hindrance for many immigrants and non-immigrants seeking employment in the United States.
While it conceded that the number of visas available can only be addressed through legislation by the U.S. congress and senate, the CIS Ombudsman has identified the following points in facilitating the processing of immigration applications.
In a memo released last Friday, the CIS Ombudsman recommends that the USCIS:
- Separate and prioritize Schedule A green card nurse applications so that they can be expedited, without the requirement of a written request, upon immigrant visa availability;
- Centralize Schedule A nurse applications at one designated USCIS service center to facilitate more efficient and consistent processing of Schedule A applications; and
- Regularly communicate with DOL and develop points of contacts at DOL to discuss concerns and direct inquiries regarding the processing of nurse immigration applications.
Click here to enlarge the CIS document.