By: Chris Musillo

After several weeks of contentious negotiations, a deal has been struck to preserve nurse immigration into the US through the Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act (H.R. 1044). The AAIHR, of which Musillo Unkenholt is the only law firm member, led the fight to preserve these visas. The AAIHR issued this press release in which they thanked Senators Perdue (R-GA), Paul (R-KY),and Young (R-IN) who were instrumental in crafting the deal.

The deal is still subject to two hurdles:

First, any Senator can block the deal. While most Senators have signed off on the deal there may still be some Senators who are holding out. Senator Durbin (D-IL) remains a block on the bill. In this video, Sen. Durbin explains his reasoning for holding out.

Second, the deal is still subject to approval by President Trump, who is expected to sign the bill into law if it can get past the Senate.

If the two hurdles are not overcome, the status quo stays in place, which means 12-15-year delays for many EB-2 and EB-3 Indians.

If the bill goes through, the new law will:

First, over a three-year phase-in, eliminate the per-country cap on employment based green cards. This would be great news for Indian-born immigrants, halving their retrogression to 7-8 years.

Second, preserve 4,400 visas for Schedule A occupations – Registered Nurses and Physical Therapists. Additionally, 2,800 visas will be used for derivatives (spouses and children) of RNs and PTs. Unfortunately, this means that there will be a retrogression for spouses and children of RNs and PTs starting in early 2020. This derivative retrogression is the price that others Senators demanded in order for the deal to be struck.

Third, there will be additional burdens on H-1Bs in all industries. The details of the additional H-1B rules are forthcoming.

Again, the bill is not law. Negotiations remain ongoing between Sen Lee (R-UT), who is the Fairness Act’s champion, and Sen. Durbin.