USCIS Update on Employing Foreign Trained Nurses and Physical Therapists

USCIS has updated their policy manual related to the processing of Schedule A designated immigrant petitions. Schedule A designation allows an employer to file an immigrant petition on behalf of nurses or physical therapists without submitting a PERM application to the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL).

For many employment-based 2nd and 3rd preference (EB-2 and EB-3) immigrant petitions, the employer must obtain a labor certification from the DOL before filing an immigrant visa petition with USCIS. DOL, however, has predetermined that there are not sufficient U.S. workers who are able, willing, qualified, and available for certain occupations. For this reason, DOL has pre-certified certain occupations such that employers seeking to classify aliens in these occupations file both the labor certification application and petition with USCIS. These are known
as Schedule A occupations.

Currently, DOL has designated two occupations under Schedule A: registered nurses and physical therapists. USCIS officers adjudicating Schedule A cases apply DOL regulations when determining whether Schedule A designation is appropriate, and DHS regulations when adjudicating all other aspects of the petition.

Schedule A designation significantly reduces the time for onboarding employees needed in those professions. Employers seeking Schedule A designated professionals do not need to file a PERM application with the DOL . This saves almost a year of waiting for that employee to receive their green card.

The policy update highlights, include:

• Clarifies how DOL and USCIS eligibility requirements work together.
• Provides the prevailing wage determination and notice of filing process for Schedule A designation.
• Clarifies the evidentiary requirements to establish that the beneficiary’s occupation and the beneficiary qualify for consideration of Schedule A.
• Explains that the petitioner must also demonstrate that the position and the beneficiary meet USCIS requirements for the classification the petitioner seeks.

Contact us today to learn more about employing foreign trained nurses and physical therapists.