Our immigration attorney, Bob Gottfried, attended the annual conference of the American Immigration Lawyers Association last week. A representative from the U.S. Department of State addressed the lawyers. They were informed of some changes in procedure. It is not clear if the changes pertain to all embassies, but the changes definitely affect the U.S. Embassy in Manila.
I looked on the U.S. State Department website for an announcement of these changes. Nothing is noted. At this point, I'm going to assume what Bob heard is official. However, if you experience something different, let us know.
Change #1: For new cases scheduled for the Embassy Interview in Manila
Packet 4 will no longer be mailed to the nurse's home. Supposedly, packet 4 will only be sent to the attorney or agent of record. We have seen with the 1st 3 cases scheduled for appointments, the RNs have not received any mailing from the Embassy, but the attorney did. So, the email from Shagun with the information about your interview, when that time comes, will be the only notification you will receive. No need to be watching and waiting for some sort of mailing to come from the U.S. Embassy (at least in Manila).
Change #2: Medical exam at St. Luke's
It used to be that when RNs were notified of an appointment at the Embassy in MNL that they would be given a date for the medical exam at St. Luke's as well. No longer. Packet 4 has a date for the Embassy Interview and instructions to go to St. Luke's at least 1 week in advance of the Embassy Interview date for the Medical Exam. It appears as if the Medical Exams are now done on a first come first serve basis.
Change #3: Scheduling for RNs who previously had an appointment where a postponement was requested
We have had the following occur with 2 RNs so far; based on this I am assuming this is a new procedure in Manila. If a previously scheduled Embassy Interview appointment was postponed, the RNs are being notified directly by the Embassy to come for a preliminary meeting at the Embassy where documents are checked. I have to assume that if all documents are in order the next step would be the scheduling of the REAL Embassy Interview. Until we see what happens with the 1st RN with this sort of notice, I have no idea on the timing of the REAL interview.
A group that appears to be in limbo
We have a few RNs who have been through the entire process; the medical exam, the submission of documents and an actual Embassy Interview in Manila. They got caught as the door was slamming shut and the EB-3 problem with no visa numbers being available last year. Now that numbers are available, it is our opinion that they should be given a visa number and the visa package should simply be sent to them. But, nothing has occurred with these cases to date. It is very frustrating for the RNs, for us and for the hospitals. The attorney has been emailing and calling the National Visa Center and the U.S. Embassies to try to get action on these cases. Please be assured that we are working this issue as many ways as we can think of.
Another group that is momentarily stalled
There are a number of RNs in Kuwait, Saudia Arabia, U.K. and Singapore where the Visa Petitions have been transferred to the Embassy but no action has occurred thus far. We are told that the scheduling of Embassy Interview appointments will begin to occur after the July 4th holiday. We all hope so.
By the way, for the majority of RNs who will receive this email, you will be in the U.S. for the next July 4th holiday. You will be present for American's next birthday. Think of us kindly this July 4th.