Immigration for Nurses (Schedule A)
“Schedule A” professionals i.e. registered nurses (and physical therapists) are can bypass bypass labor certification requirement on their path to Green Card, as U.S faces an acute shrotage of professional nurses.
In order to qualify for immigration, a foreign-born nurse has to possess a diploma in nursing and an unrestricted and unencumbered nursing license from her home country. In addition, she should possess license in the state of intended employment in the US or successful completion of CGFNS (Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools) certification.
In general, NCLEX-RN (National council Licensure Examination) passage is required. This is conducted frequently and exclusively in US.
CGFNS certification program consists of three parts :
- A review of foreign credentials,
- the CGFNS qualifying exam (offered all through US and worldwide) and
- an English Language proficiency component. Results of TOEFL, IELTS and TOEIC are also accepted. Native English speaking applicants such as Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, UK,Australia may be exempt from English proficiency requirement.
Applicants who are already in US lawfully at the time of qualifying for CGFNS can apply for an Adjustment of Status application for the nurse and family members.
The other way is Consular Post Processing. Nursing staff are not eligible for H-1B category under “specialty occupation” although it is a recognized profession.
Because H-1A visas are restricted, H-1C category is introduced exclusive to cater to the shortage of nursing staff in US. With the introduction of Rural and Urban Health Care Act of 2001 the opportunities have become multi-fold. This has reduced the waiting time of one year considerably.