Talk of Immigration Reform Heats Up


April 01/09 - With the recession continuing to dominate the news, immigration advocates have been wondering if there is the political will and energy to also take on comprehensive reform in the near future.


Of course only time will tell but there are some encouraging signs.

It is expected that legislation calling for comprehensive immigration reform could be introduced to coincide with a planned White House Summit Meeting on immigration in May.


It is also anticipated that legislation identical to H.R. 5924 of 2008 will be introduced soon. H.R. 5924 probably had the greatest support of any potentially retrogression ending legislation introduced in 2008. The reintroduction of this legislation is also expected to have wide spread support among elected officials in Washington.


Earlier this year separate legislation was introduced to create a new non-immigrant visa category specifically for nurses. Referred to as the 'W' visa this proposal remains pending.


Last week, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus met with President Obama and left hopeful that he would tackle immigration reform this year.


April 2009 Visa Bulletin Disappoints


March 10, 2009 - The April 2009 Visa Bulletin has just been released and it contains a shred of good news and some not so good news.

First the good news - the priority date for Indian nurses has moved forward 16 days. Not 16 months but 16 days. Well it is still better than going backwards.


Speaking of going backwards, that is exactly what happened to the priority date for Filipino nurses. The priority date moved from May 2005 back to March 2003. While not entirely unexpected, it is obviously disappointing.


November 2008 Retrogression Survey Results

Interest in temporary US Visas High –

Canada perceived as easiest to immigrate to

A record number of responses were received to the November 2008 retrogression survey.  Thank you to everyone who took the time to participate.

A large majority of international RNs responding to the survey indicated that they would be interested in coming to the US on a temporary work visa if such a visa was available and would be processed quickly.

The complete November survey results are summarized as follows:

1.  Would you be interested in coming to the U.S. on a temporary work

visa, if that type of visa was available and would be processed quickly,

if retrogression does not end by the end of 2008?

Answer Options

Response Percent







2.  What do you think that you will do if visa retrogression has not

ended by March 31, 2009? 

Answer Options

Response Percent

Patiently wait for retrogression to end


Actively seek opportunities in other countries


I already have another job offer outside of the U.S.


Give up on working abroad and stay where I am working now


3.  Based on the information that you have, which two countries do

you think are the easiest to immigrate to?

Answer Options

Response Percent







New Zealand


Saudi Arabia


United Arab Emirates


United Kingdom


United States


The December 2008 Retrogression Survey is now available.  Please take a few minutes to complete this survey now. 

Did you know that some US employers are recruiting right now in anticipation of retrogression ending?  For information on opportunities currently being offered by one such US employer





December 1, 2008

What Will Barack Obama Do About Visa Retrogresson?


While campaigning in July, Barack Obama stated that immigration reform would be “a top priority in my first year as president." However when asked to list his top 5 priorities after the election, immigration was not even mentioned.

To better understand the prospects for comprehensive immigration reforms occurring in the near future it is important to understand two of the major competing interests on this issue.

On the one hand you have the very large Latino population in the U.S. that overwhelmingly voted for Barack Obama.  They have high expectations that comprehensive immigration reforms will be implemented and soon.  The Latino community has a very strong voice and considerable influence based on their growing numbers in the U.S.

On the other hand you have U.S. labor unions.  As the unemployment rate in the U.S. continues to increase month after month as the result of the current economic slowdown, it is very likely that U.S. unions, who also strongly backed Barack Obama in the recent election, will take an increasingly firm position against any immigration measures aimed at enabling more foreigners being able to work in the U.S.  Of course, no one expects the average unemployed auto worker to be retrained as a Registered Nurse, not anytime soon anyway, but that is politics.

In short it would be fair to say that with all of the economic, war and international issues facing the new Obama administration, it is unlikely that comprehensive immigration reform will see the light of day in 2009.

But There is Also Good News

That being said, the likelihood of some targeted legislative relief specifically for health care professionals is something that has a very good chance of being enacted and soon.

Prior to the election good progress was being made on retrogression ending legislation.  There is no reason to believe that support for more visas for registered nurses and physical therapists has diminished among the elected officials in Washington, in fact, this support may have increased with the recent electoral gains by the Democratic Party.

The fact that some large U.S. hospitals are again recruiting international nurses and filing new immigration petitions also indicates that these employers, many of whom have been active in lobbying to end retrogression,  believe that visa retrogression for health care

professionals will end and soon.

What do you think will happen?  Take a few moments to complete the November Retrogression survey now available on this site.


September 2008 Retrogression Survey Results


Applicants Restless – Employers Remain Patient


The September 2008 Retrogression Survey asked international applicants with pending Green Card applications whether they intended to stick with their current U.S. application or if they had, or were thinking about pursuing opportunities in other countries.

A key result of this survey is that a total of 60% of applicant respondents to the survey indicate that they have or are considering abandoning their U.S. applications in favor of other international opportunities.


Actively Seeking non-U.S. opportunities 22%
Considering other opportunities, but undecided 38%
Inclined to stick with U.S. immigration application   38%
No longer interested in international opportunities-will stay where they are



On the other hand, 91% of U.S. employers who have sponsored international applicants indicated that they will continue to wait for the arrival of their international applicants, regardless of how long it may take.

Employers were also asked what strategies they were using to cope with the shortage of staff at their facility due to the delayed arrival of their international employees.


Using temporary staffing agencies 45%
Relying on current staff working overtime 27%
Able to increase number of domestic hires 19%
Decreased service capacity



The latest updates on visa retrogression can always be found at  To automatically receive updates on visa retrogression, CLICK HERE.  This link will open a blank e-mail message – just click on submit and you will be automatically and securely registered.


The November Visa Retrogression Survey is now available at   Please take a few minutes to let us know your thoughts on this month’s theme … where do you look for information on visa retrogression and comments you would like to share with the next U.S. President on what they should do to end retrogression.


H.R. 5924 The Emergency Nursing Supply Relief Act – would allow for 20,000 registered nurses and physical therapists to obtain green card visas each year.  This is the most promising piece of legislation as it has gained a significant number of sponsors and it has already passed through Immigration Subcommittee by a 7-2 vote.

H.R. 5921 The High Skilled Per Country Level Elimination Act  - would eliminate the per country level for employment-based immigrants and to end the spill-over of unused immigrant visa numbers between employment-based and family-sponsored categories.

H.R. 5882 To recapture employment-based immigrant visas lost to bureaucratic delays …  would recapture unused green card visas from previous years

Enactment into law of any of these pieces of legislation would effectively end visa retrogression specifically for RNs and PTs and bring much needed relief to health care employers across the United States.

100’s of Indian RNs with U.S. Applications Stranded

Fortis HealthStaff and KForce Professional Staffing have closed their international nurse recruiting operations in India and the U.S. 

The departure of Fortis and KForce, two large corporate entities, from the international nurse recruitment marketplace is just the most recent example of the effects of lingering visa retrogression.


Former Fortis and KForce Nurses …. There is Hope

Whether you were formerly being processed by Fortis, KForce or any other nurse recruiter that is no longer processing your application or has gone out of business, there is hope! For a more complete overview of what you should do now to protect yourself and your future, CLICK HERE.