This week, Democratic lawmakers led by Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Illinois) filed a new comprehensive immigration reform bill giving renewed hope to Filipino nurses.
- Recapture of unused visa numbers from fiscal years 1992 up to 2008;
- Automatic roll over of unused visa numbers to the next fiscal year. This will ensure that all unused visa allocations will become available for future use;
- Increase in the visa quota per country by allowing more visa numbers;
- Exemption of spouses and children from the annual quota. This means family members of an eligible nurse will no longer be counted against the visa quota allowing more visa numbers to be allocated for more nurses; and
- Nurses already in the United States (U.S.) may file for I-485 Adjustment of Status even when priority dates are not current provided the applicant pays a $500 supplemental fee. This means that nurses who are already in the United States on tourist visa, student visa, or any other lawful status including those out of status for a period of less than 180 days can proceed with the I-485 application and obtain work authorization and may remain legally in the U.S. while the application is being processed.