Now that the President has signed into law the legislation providing for the temporary fix to the EB-3 retrogression problem for nurses and physical therapists, everyone is asking: What happens next? There are 2 conflicting answers to the question.
We have heard 2 different things from the State Department. First, we heard that the State Department would release a "supplemental Visa Bulletin" to announce the availability of the additional 50,000 visa numbers for nurses and physical therapists. This was supposed to have happened in May but didn't. Now we are hearing that they will not be issuing the supplemental Visa Bulletin but instead will announce the availability of these Schedule A visa numbers in the normal course of business. The July 2005 Visa Bulletin will be issued around June 15, 2005 and it will reflect this new category of visa numbers.
It seems to me a simple matter to issue the supplemental Visa Bulletin to make the numbers available NOW. But, it looks like that will not happen. So, this means no Embassy interview activity will take place in June but things should start being scheduled for July 2005.
RN and PT visa cases sitting at various Embassies will be the first to be scheduled for Medical Exams and Embassy Interviews. Cases that were held at the National Visa Center are already being transferred to the Embassies for final processing.
One of our Nurses whose case is at the Embassy in MNL was told that the backlog of EB-3 cases at the U.S. Embassy in MNL is about 2,400. That's not too bad given that the Embassy in MNL had been processing 1,200 cases per month before the EB-3 problem occurred. Another one of our RNs in Kuwait was told by our Embassy there that they have only 34 EB-3 cases that got caught in the visa number situation. Both Embassies indicated that they will begin scheduling appointments only after the visa numbers are officially issued.
So, if anyone has any pull with the State Department to get them to issue the visa numbers sooner, now would be the time to call in that marker. If we hear anything before June 15 when the numbers should appear in the July Visa Bulletin, we will certainly let you know.