Schedule A Immigration Designation and the Nursing Shortage

Schedule A


There is an ongoing nursing shortage crisis throughout the United States. It was building prior to the pandemic and continues to take a mental and physical toll on workers, and Louisiana is no exception. Like many states, Louisiana has experienced an acute shortage of nurses heightened by the COVID-19 pandemic, leading to longer wait times and fewer nurses available to care for admitted patients.

In order to combat situations like this, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has created the “Schedule A” designation, which allows the petitioner to bypass the recruitment normally required for labor certification, allowing for an expedited path toward lawful permanent residence. This can save weeks or months in the application process. The DOL is able to do this because they have pre-certified that there are no qualified U.S. workers available.

Currently, there are only two occupations explicitly listed on Schedule A: Professional Nurses and Physical Therapists. There is also a less commonly utilized Group II, which is for persons of exceptional ability in science or arts and university teachers. A “Schedule A” applicant must have a job offer from a U.S. employer; they may not self-petition.

In order to obtain an employment-based visa classification based on a Schedule A petitioner, the employer must meet the following eligibility requirements:

  1. The employer must offer full-time permanent employment to the beneficiary.
  2. The employment must be in one of the occupations categorized as a Schedule A occupation.
  3. The employer must offer the beneficiary at least the prevailing wage.
  4. The employer must provide notice of the positions(s) it seeks to fill to the employer’s bargaining representative, if applicable, or its employees.
  5. The beneficiary must meet the specific USCIS eligibility requirements.

“Schedule A” petitions are available for EB-2 and EB-3 petitions, which must usually obtain a Labor Certification from the DOL. The Schedule A beneficiary must still qualify under one of these two categories in order to obtain a lawful permanent residency, also known as a green card.

If you are a nurse or physical therapist interested in living and working in the United States on a permanent basis, we can help! Contact The Scott Law Firm’s immigration attorneys today!