USCIS Provides Guidance on Adjudication of H-1B Petitions for Nursing Occupations
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recently released guidance (PDF) on the adjudication of H-1B petitions for nursing position. The memorandum assists USCIS officers in determining whether a nursing position meets the definition of a specialty occupation. The memo supersedes any previous guidance on the subject.
The memo notes that the private sector is increasingly showing a preference for more highly educated nurses. Registered nurses’ (RN) duties and titles often depend on where they work and the patients with whom they work. Nursing work can focus on specific areas, such as addiction, cardiovascular, critical care, emergency room, genetics, neonatology, nephrology, oncology, pediatric, operating room, and rehabilitation. The memo states that depending on the facts of the case, some of these RN positions may qualify as specialty occupations.
An advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) defines a level of nursing practice that uses extended and expanded skills, experience, and knowledge in assessment, planning, implementation, diagnosis, and evaluation of the care required. Positions that require certified APRNs “will generally be specialty occupations due to the advanced level of education and training required for certification.” Having a degree is not by itself sufficient to qualify a position as an H-1B, the memo notes. The burden is on the petitioner to establish eligibility, but the memo provided a non-exhaustive list of APRN occupations that may satisfy the requirements for a specialty occupation, including Certified Nurse-Midwife, Certified Clinical Nurse Specialist, Certified Nurse Practitioner, and Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist.
Evidence submitted by a petitioner may include the nature of the petitioner’s business; a description of industry practices; a detailed description of the duties to be performed within the petitioner’s business operations; advanced certification requirements; American Nurses Credentialing Center Magnet Recognized status (explained in the memo); clinical experience requirements; training in the specialty requirements; and wage rate relative to others within the occupation.