Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Bill that removes cap on nurses immigrating to the US revived

After months of deliberating a comprehensive US immigration reform bill, Sen. Edward Kennedy has decided to bring back an old bill from last session that was adopted by the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Kennedy hopes to make the bill the starting point for discussions on what the new immigration law should be. Although the original bill underwent major changes before getting the nod of the Senate, the bill took on the same principles of having improved border patrol, electronic worker verification, guest worker program, and a path to legalization and citizenship.

US legislators have had difficulty trying to come up with a new proposal for a comprehensive immigration reform act that will be filed in the Senate because of the complexity of the issue, which has political, economic and social repercussions in the country. Some Internet reports claim that there is an estimaed 12 million illegal immigrants in the US, and they account for about 5%-7% of the country's work force.

The bill also proposed to do away with any numerical visa caps for registered nurses and physical therapists until 2017. The visa caps for employment-based immigrants would go up from 140,000 to 290,000 annually. Spouses and children of principal immigrants would no longer be counted against the numerical cap as well.

Immigration reform has received increased attention in the US recently as hundreds of illegal immigrants have been arrested this past weeks under an intensified crackdown on aliens by US Immigrations and Customs Enforcement agents.

Read Sen. Kennedy's press release

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