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StethescopeCompanion pieces of legislation have been introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate that aim to alleviate some of the long delays for medical professionals seeking to live and work in the United States on a permanent basis.

Specifically, this legislation proposes to recapture 40,000 unused immigrant visas from past years and make them available for doctors and nurses. Fifteen thousand of these visas would be made available to doctors and 25,000 would be made available to nurses. These visas would be allocated based on priority date without regard to country of birth. Unlimited visas for spouses and children of these visa applicants would also be available.

The legislation also includes a directive to the Departments of Homeland Security and State to expedite these application processes as much as possible.

A final component of the proposed legislation would require employers seeking these visas for prospective medical professional employees to attest that U.S. workers have not and will not be displaced.

If passed, this legislation would help foreign national medical professionals come to and remain in the United States. The passage of this legislation is ongoing, so we will continue to monitor its status.

Please contact the Foster Garvey Labor, Employment & Immigration team if you have any questions regarding this and other visa applications.

iStock U.S. Flags and Wall Street SignYou have a plan for doing business in the U.S.  Now who is going to help make that happen? As companies get ready to do business in the U.S. they often delay in thinking about one key matter: making sure the people needed to implement their strategy can obtain the visas or other permission required to work in the U.S. Some U.S. hiring is possible, of course, but often key personnel are needed from abroad. If you’re going to be sending someone like Oscar winning Penélope Cruz, it may be easy to verify that a visa is available. Sometimes even experienced business personnel or their contemplated jobs, however, do not match what the U.S. immigration authorities require. Even a visa for a superstar can take a significant amount of time to arrange. It’s terrible when a project gets delayed or cannot take off because the right person isn’t ready with the right work authorization.

The next installment in GSB’s Resource for Doing Business in the U.S. sets out the basic visa options for working in the U.S. It outlines the types of visas and the associated process and requirements, which should help in timely and efficient planning.

Your comments are welcome!

USflag_visaIn a blog that we posted just a few weeks ago, I wrote “Beginning in late 2015, individuals who have been present in Iraq, Syria, Iran, or Sudan (or other countries designated by the Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) as supporting terrorism or “of concern”) at any time on or after March 1, 2011, are not eligible to participate in the Visa Waiver Program.” Well, “other countries” were designated on February 18.

The Visa Waiver Program has allowed citizens of more than 35 countries to travel and be admitted to the U.S. for business or pleasure for 90 days without the need for a visa. Recent events in other parts of the world have resulted in the restrictions on the availability of this program based on country-specific travel or nationality.

On February 18, the restrictions were expanded from Iraq, Syria, Iran, and Sudan to include Libya, Somalia, and Yemen as three countries “of concern”. This limits Visa Waiver Program travel for certain individuals who have traveled to those countries since March 1, 2011. The restriction does not apply to individuals with dual nationality (nationals of the U.S. and any of those three countries).

As with the previous restrictions, the Secretary of Homeland Security, Jeh Johnson may waive these restrictions if he determines that such a waiver is in the law enforcement or national security interests of the United States. As a general matter, categories of travelers who may be eligible for a waiver include individuals who traveled to these countries on behalf of international organizations, regional organizations, and sub-national governments on official duty; on behalf of a humanitarian NGO on official duty; or as a journalist for reporting purposes.

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Foster Garvey’s International practice group comprises a cross-disciplinary group of attorneys practicing in areas ranging from business transactions, immigration, maritime, government regulatory work, transportation and logistics and estate planning. The group members include bilingual and multicultural attorneys who are well-versed in handling these subject matters in a cross-border context. A number of attorneys have been actively practicing in the international arena since the early 1970s.
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