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April 2024 Visa Bulletin Continues To Move in the Right Direction on Employer Sponsored Nurse Green Card Cases

March 8, 2024

Foreign nationals and their sponsoring US employers or US family members have been closely monitoring the monthly releases of the US Department of State (DOS) Visa Bulletin for the past year to confirm when they will be eligible to apply for permanent residence in the US. The April 2024 Visa Bulletin showed the second significant advance in visa availability since May 2023 and provided additional relief from months of “retrogression.” In short, this means that as of April 1, 2024:

  • Most foreign nurses residing abroad whose employer-sponsored cases have been approved and are “documentarily complete” are several months closer to being able to be scheduled for interviews at consulates around the world, to obtain the immigrant visas that would permit them to enter the US as permanent residents.
  • Many foreign nurses residing in the US whose employer sponsored cases are ready to be filed or already have been approved also are several months closer to being able to file applications for Adjustment of Status (AOS) to permanent residence and should ensure their ongoing status and employment authorization in the US until they are eligible to take the next steps in their permanent residence cases.
  • US employers hoping to sponsor foreign nurses for permanent residence in the US any time in the future should get started on that process right away, so as to plan for eventual full relief from visa availability “retrogression” and to account for delays at other related agencies (such as the Department of Labor, which processes the required Prevailing Wage Determinations).

The DOS sets the number of permanent resident “spots” available in a given fiscal year for most employer-sponsored and some family-sponsored cases, allocated based on the foreign national’s “priority date” (the date on which a petition was filed on their behalf) in both the category of family-based (parent, adult son or daughter, sibling) or employment-based (graduate degreed professional, skilled worker) sponsorship and the foreign national’s country of birth. When the number of sponsored foreign nationals exceeds the number of permanent resident spots available in each category, the DOS establishes processing queues to manage the backlog. The monthly Visa Bulletin indicates the queues for priority dates in each category.

Since May 2023, the Visa Bulletin has been in “retrogression” in the employment-based category through which nurses qualify (EB-3), resulting in delays in most foreign nurses’ ability to apply for permanent residence in the US or to obtain immigrant visas abroad even if the underlying sponsorship case has been approved.

The April 2024 Visa Bulletin continued the significant advancements in EB-3 processing queues announced in the January 2024 and October 2023 Visa Bulletins, indicating a trend of impactful advancement on a quarterly basis, and reducing the projected wait times by almost two and a half years (to 22 November 2022) for both immigrant visas abroad and AOS cases in the US. Although employers facing nurse staffing crises across the US will be disappointed to learn that the case processing backlogs have not been completely eliminated, the new dates show significant progress in case processing since retrogression began in May 2023. Because the Visa Bulletin is updated on a monthly basis, there is good reason to expect that these numbers will move forward significantly again in July 2024 to account for processing progress and may reset entirely in October 2024.

For more information on how employer sponsored nurse case processing may be impacted by and the Visa Bulletin, please contact a member of the Clark Hill Healthcare Immigration team.

This publication is intended for general informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or a solicitation to provide legal services. The information in this publication is not intended to create, and receipt of it does not constitute, a lawyer-client relationship. Readers should not act upon this information without seeking professional legal counsel. The views and opinions expressed herein represent those of the individual author only and are not necessarily the views of Clark Hill PLC. Although we attempt to ensure that postings on our website are complete, accurate, and up to date, we assume no responsibility for their completeness, accuracy, or timeliness.

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