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How do I recruit and retain RNs through the green card process?

Updated: Aug 1, 2022

Our economy is experiencing an interesting flow of people in and out of the workforce. In our experience, hospitals and healthcare facilities are not exempt from the trend and are short thousands of nurses, RNs in particular. Employers are turning to recruiters and the U.S. immigrations system to find qualified, available nurses to come or remain in the U.S. on an employer-sponsored green card.

Traditionally, the employer-sponsored green card requires employers to:

  1. Get a Prevailing Wage Determination from Department of Labor

  2. Recruit on the open job market in the area of employment to prove there are no minimally qualified and available American workers on the market (prove a shortage in the occupation)

  3. Post Notice at the worksite (physically and electronically, if the company uses intranet) for 10 business days

  4. File a 9089 PERM Labor Certification Application with Department of Labor

  5. If certified, file an I-140 petition with Immigration asking USCIS to approve this person working permanently in the U.S. in the position offered

At the end of all that, the employee will then file an application for green card (either in or outside the U.S.).

Luckily, DOL has pre-certified a shortage of nurses in the U.S. and titled them “Schedule A” positions. This means that employers can skip #2 and #4 above, and, after getting a prevailing wage determination and posting notice at the worksite, can go straight to filing with immigration. This saves employers lots of time and money. However, the process is still long.

From identification of the candidate to green card in hand for an RN currently, it can take up to 2+ years. This delay is not deterring U.S. employers or candidates right now because the need for nurses is strong.

To read more about nurses and work visas, please check out our other blog post in this series :

Business Immigration Attorney


NOT LEGAL ADVICE: This article is for educational purposes only, it is not legal advice that may be applicable to your situation. The information provided here does not constitute legal advice. It is general information regarding law and policy that may be applicable to your particular HR issue or legal problem. Information provided in this blog, or any of our other public posts, does not create an attorney-client relationship. For specific advice you can rely upon, please contact your attorney.


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