Fiscal Year. October is the start of the fiscal year. This means that beginning next month, a new set of 140,000 visa numbers will become available again for the Employment-Based 3rd Preference Category (EB-3) as mandated by law. Does this mean that the visa retrogression has ended? The answer is NO. This, however, means that nurses with approved I-140 petitions who have priority dates before March 2003 may see some movements on their cases.
Comprehensive Immigration Reform (CIR). In a statement last month before leaders of Canada and Mexico, U.S. President Barrack Obama said that the chances of an immigration reform being passed by the U.S. congress this year is slim. He added that he doesn't want his efforts on health care, global warming and the financial crisis to be hampered by another major issue such as immigration.
Setbacks in the Senate. Two senators who are known supporters of the CIR have resigned. Texas Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, known for her efforts in healthcare visa reform, is resigning to run as Governor of Texas. Florida Senator Mel Martinez is also resigning before his term ends to spend more time with his family.
Emergency Nursing Supply Relief Act. This proposed legislation offers a glimmer of hope for those stuck in the visa backlog. If passed, up to 20,000 visa numbers will become available to qualified nurses and physical therapist over a 3-year period. While the bill has been referred to the appropriate committee, immigration experts doubt whether it will be acted upon anytime soon as congress have expressed its desire to consolidate all immigration-related bills into one Comprehensive Immigration Reform package.