Nurses and physical therapists are able to obtain permanent residency and are not required to obtain a labor certification since there is a recognized shortage of nurses in the U.S. “Schedule A Worker Category”.
Nurses must meet a myriad of qualifications, including passing nursing exams and English tests. Specifically, in order to be eligible for permanent residency, nurses must pass the TOEFL or IELTS exam, which evaluate the nurse’s English skills.
To qualify for Schedule A, Group I processing, a nurse must be employed as a professional nurse and must hold either a CGFNS certificate or unrestricted license to practice professional nursing in the state of intended employment.
U.S. employers cannot readily recruit and obtain H-1B visas for most international medical graduates (IMGs) who are residing abroad. This is because IMGs are required to complete medical residencies in the U.S. before they can obtain state licenses. To complete a residency program in the U.S., many IMGs enter the country as nonimmigrant exchange visitors (“J-1″ status). Medical residents who obtain exchange visitor status must return to their countries of citizenship or last residence for two years before reentering the U.S. as permanent residents or as H or L (intracompany transferee) visaholders.
However, many J residents obtain waivers of the two-year home residency requirement. Also, many IMGs obtain H-1B visas to pursue medical residencies. IMGs who complete medical residency programs without obtaining J-1 status are eligible to be sponsored for H-1B visas by private employers and/or for permanent residence upon completion of their programs.