Category Archives: Health Care Workers

Foreign Doctors and Other Healthcare Workers Opportunities to Work & Live in the United States

October 9, 2020
By Coleman Jackson, Attorney
Foreign Doctors and Other Healthcare Workers Opportunities to Work & Live in the United States

Covid-19 has revealed a lot of short comings in the health care system in the United States.  An overwhelming majority of negative health outcomes have affected the minority communities throughout the country.  The social injustices and the long tail of racial injustice and its impact on the health and well being of our follow citizens are glowing clearly down whatever dark path Covid-19 takes as it sweeps across America’s urban areas and rural areas and whatever other path this mysterious virus goes down.  One thing is clear its impact is not equal on all of America.

America needs to do better.  She must do much better by its citizenry.  One place to start is making sure that a sufficient supply of quality healthcare workers is available to serve all America regardless of what they look like or how much money they have in the bank.  Quality healthcare involves much more than universal health insurance and access to understaffed hospitals and clinics.  There must be qualified, compassionate, skilled healthcare providers who are willing and able to serve communities throughout America staffing the hospitals, clinics and medical offices.

Health Care Worker Visa

If there is a shortage in health care workers, can health insurance coverage alone solve the problems laid bear by Covid-19? There were a woefully insufficient number of healthcare workers in under served communities throughout the United States long before Covid-19 arrived on our shores.  Health insurance does not solve this problem.  Legislation enacted on November 12, 1999, 220 Public Law No. 106-95, 113 Statute 1312 Section 5 suppose to have made it easier for certain foreign physicians and other healthcare workers seeking to work and reside in the United States to enter the United States in the second employment-based preference category, known as the,  EB-2 Visa under the national interest waiver.  Now the EB-2 NIW is not the only visa that health care workers may use to work in the United States, for example, the H1-B, J-1, EB-1 and the traditional EB-2 are all visa types that might afford foreign health care workers the opportunity to live and work in the healthcare field within the United States.  But the EB-2 NIW was designed to make it easier and shorten the time for foreign healthcare workers to come to the United States to live and work indefinitely in the healthcare industry.

The EB-2 NIW- Who Qualifies for the EB-2 National Interest Visa?   All kinds of doctors, nurses and other healthcare workers may qualify; so long as, they agree to work full time in a field designated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as a health professional shortage area or in a Veterans Administration Hospital; and a federal agency or a state department of public health has determined that the healthcare workers’ service is in the public interest.  These are the two prongs of the 1999 legislation establishing the EB-2 National Interest Waiver.  They must be satisfied by obtaining a certification from the federal or state agency, such as the Veteran’s Hospital (VA) on the federal level or State Public Health Agency on the State level.  Local health agency certification will prove to be insufficient and also private organization attestation of the public interest will prove to be insufficient to satisfy this requirement.  A certification by the State Department of Public Health tend to be persuasive evidence of “public interest” when it comes to satisfying the National Interest Waiver certification requirement.  Keep in mind that an NIW is generally considered an easier path to the second preference employment-based EB-2 visa.  NIW healthcare workers must still satisfy all of the requirements for the traditional EB-2 visa in addition to the NIW requirements.

EB-2 Visa
The EB-2 NIW- Does the EB-2 National Interest Visa applicant need to obtain a U.S. Department of Labor certification?  The EB-2 NIW is exempt from labor certification requirements under the 1999 legislation.  The physician or other healthcare worker must certify that they will work full time in a healthcare shortage area or VA hospital for five years.  The healthcare worker must present credible evidence that their work will advance a critical national goal and that their work will benefit the public interest of the United States.  In this time of Covid-19, this certification by the foreign healthcare worker could possibly be easier that ever before to meet due to increased coronavirus related sickness, hospitalizations and exhaustion and depletion of health industry capacity that was already strained in some rural and underserved areas of thee U.S. long before Covid-19 hit the American shores.

The EB-2 NIW- What is the process of applying and how long does it generally take from the filing of the application and working at an American hospital, clinic or other healthcare facility?First of all, the petitioner applying for an EB-2 NIW does not need a hospital or other institution to file the petition nor do they need a job offer.  The foreign healthcare worker can self-petition for an EB-2 NIW. The petitioner must first file USCIS Form I-140 with supporting documentation showing the following:

  • All identification evidence required for the traditional EB-2 visa;
  • Written evidence that the two prongs of the National Interest Waiver showing that the healthcare worker will work full time in an underserved healthcare area, or in a Veterans Administration Hospital facility;
  • Credible Credentialing evidence that shows or demonstrates that the physician or other healthcare worker has the educational, licensing, experience and other professional indicia required by Immigration and Nationalization Act Section 212(a)(5) (B) to work in the intended State of the United States in which they intend to work;
  • All evidence required for USCIS Form I-485 Adjustment Application in the event an Immigrant Visa is immediately available. The immigrant must review theVisa Bulletin published each month by the U.S. Department of State in making the determination as to when to file Form I-485, Adjustment of Status Application; and
  • Other credible evidence as required for healthcare workers in the State.

 

healthcare workers spouse and family visa

As for the processing times at the USCIS, currently processing times are over one year; but, processing times varies based on all facts and circumstances and during Covid-19 the process could take a few months if the foreign healthcare worker shows that their skills are in the public interest and that they are willing to serve at medical facilities with acute shortages or in underserved communities in rural and intercity America.  It should be noted that although an adjustment of status application (Form I-485) can be filed when an immigrant visa is available and can even be filed concurrently with the I-140; the USCIS is not expected to approve the adjustment application until the healthcare worker has actually served in the underserved medical area for at least five years.    Where to file for EB-2 NIW?  Outside of the United Sates the foreign worker files the appropriate forms and supporting documents with the U.S. Consulates Office in their home country; whereas, inside the United These the petitioning foreign healthcare worker files the appropriate forms and supporting documents with USCIS who handles immigration processing inside the country.  Premium or expedited processing could be available to speed up the processing of the I-140 petition; but the availability of premium processing is changed by the government from time to time upon short notice.

The EB-2 NIW- What about the healthcare workers spouse and family? The foreign workers spouse and children under the age of 18 may be admitted to the Unites States in the E-21 and E-22 immigrant visa status.  Their spouse and children can enroll and attend school in the United States.  During the pendency of the adjustment of status application, the spouse is eligible to file for Form I-765, Employment Authorization Application for approval to work in the Unites States.  The spouse and the children can maintain this status and live in the United States indefinitely; so long as, the principal foreign worker maintains the EB-2 NIW immigration status.  Let’s just note that the foreign worker and their spouse and children can travel freely inside and outside of the United States, so long as, they maintain the second preference employment-based visa immigration status.  Once the individual family members adjustment of status application is approved (they get their Green Cards) and they can reside and work in the United States permanently and they can apply for U.S. citizenship after holding the Green Card status for five years.

This law blog is written by the Taxation | Litigation | Immigration Law Firm of Coleman Jackson, P.C. for educational purposes; it does not create an attorney-client relationship between this law firm and its reader.  You should consult with legal counsel in your geographical area with respect to any legal issues impacting you, your family or business.

Coleman Jackson, P.C. | Taxation, Litigation, Immigration Law Firm | English (214) 599-0431 | Spanish (214) 599-0432 | Portuguese (214) 272-3100

 

The Substantial Presence Test

May 08, 2017
By Coleman Jackson, Attorney, CPA

An Immigrant is Considered a Resident of the U.S. for Federal Tax Purposes When They Meet this Test

The Substantial Presence Test

Except for certain exempt individuals, such as teachers, trainees, students, professional athletes and certain foreign government individuals, immigrants physically in the United States who meet the substantial presence test as depicted in the diagram below are considered an U.S. Resident for federal tax purposes.

(a) (b) (c) (d)
Year Number of Days Immigrant Physically Present in United States  During Period Multiplier Substantial Present Days (Multiply (b) times (c))
Current Year   1.00  
First Prior Year   .333  
Second Prior Year   .167  
Total  Days Immigrant Present in U.S. (add column (d)  

tax status of immigrants

It is critical to determine the tax status of immigrants because immigrants who are Green Card Holders and those who meet the substantial presence test are taxed just like United States Citizens.  United States Citizens are taxed on their world wide income no matter where the income is earned.  Generally speaking, immigrants meet the substantial presence test when all of the following statements are true:

  1. The immigrant was physically present in the United States for at least 31 days during the current calendar year; and
  2. The immigrant was physically present in the United States for 183 days during the three year period for which residency is being determined.

In the event that both of these conditions are met and none of the exemptions apply, the immigrant is treated as a Resident of the United States for tax purposes.  But as is typical in American law, there are exceptions even if an immigrant meets the substantial presence test.  The ‘closer connection to a foreign country exception’ is just such an exception.    Also what constitutes a day in the United States can be affected by whether the immigrant is a regular commuter from Mexico or Canada, or whether the immigrant is in transit between two foreign points outside of the U.S., or simply whether the immigrant is in the U.S. in one of the ‘exempt person statuses’ that we mentioned at the top of this blog.  Even the medical condition of the immigrant could impact whether time in the United States is counted toward the term ‘day’ in the United States for the substantial presence test.  Any time in the United States due to a medical condition that arose while the immigrant was in the U.S. is not counted in the substantial presence test calculus.

This law blog is written by the Taxation | Litigation | Immigration Law Firm of Coleman Jackson, P.C. for educational purposes; it does not create an attorney-client relationship between this law firm and its reader.  You should consult with legal counsel in your geographical area with respect to any legal issues impacting you, your family or business.

Coleman Jackson, P.C. | Taxation, Litigation, Immigration Law Firm | English (214) 599-0431 | Spanish (214) 599-0432

Check Your ITIN because it could be Expired or Expiring Soon

By: Coleman Jackson, Attorney, CPA
November 21, 2016

Check Your ITIN because it could be Expired or Expiring Soon

Individual Taxpayer Identification Number, otherwise known as (ITIN) allows taxpayers to meet their tax filing obligations who cannot obtain a Social Security Number.  An ITIN is typically used by nonresident foreigners , undocumented resident foreigners, dependents and spouses of U.S. Citizens and resident foreigners who cannot get a social security number, and nonresident students, professors or researchers filing a U.S. federal tax return or claiming an exception, and anyone else who has a tax reporting obligation but cannot obtain a social security number.  The ITIN, like a social security number, is a nine digit code.  The ITIN begins with the number 9 and has fourth and fifth digits ranging from 50-65, 70-88, 90-92, and 94-99.   These are the middle digits of the ITIN.   The ITIN does not grant the holder any legal rights to reside in the United States.  The ITIN does not grant the holder any right to work in the United States.  The ITIN is issued by the United States Treasury (IRS).  The ITIN is only used for tax reporting purposes.

ITIN holders beware!  Section 203 of the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes Act of 2015 (PATH Act), which became law on December 18, 2015 made critical changes to U.S. Tax Law, 26 U.S.C. Section 6109 as it relates to the Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) Program.  Because of these PATH Act changes, every ITIN holder must check their ITIN to determine whether it is expired or expiring soon.  The PATH Act made major changes in the ITIN Program which requires holders of ITINs to renew their ITIN.

Holders of unused ITINs must renew them or they will expire.  Any ITIN not used on a federal tax return for the last three (3) years.  Count back from the current year to the previous three tax reporting periods.  If it has been three years since the ITIN was used; it expires on January 1, 2017.  That means that if you hold an ITIN that was not used in 2015, 2014 or 2013; your ITIN is no longer valid and cannot be used when you file your 2016 federal tax return; unless, you timely renew it.  The IRS began accepting ITIN renewal applications on October 1, 2016 for taxpayers affected by the PATH Act.

ITINs issued before 2013 began expiring in 2016 on a rolling basis.  The mandatory renewal period for these ITINs is on what the IRS is calling a rolling basis.  The key numbers that triggers the expiration and mandatory renewal schedule as to when the pre-2013 ITIN renewal period began are the middle two digits of the ITIN.  For example, beginning October 1, 2016, ITIN holders with middle digits of 78 and 79 began renewing their ITIN. Every ITIN holder must examine their ITIN and the ITIN of family members (household members) to determine when their ITIN expires or expired based on the IRS rolling renewal schedule.

Holders of expired ITINs could have difficulty complying with U.S. tax laws.  They could be prohibited from claiming exemptions and dependents and so forth with expired ITINs.  Moreover, failure to timely file required federal tax returns carry serious consequences under U.S. tax laws, such as, civil negligence penalties, fraud penalties and potential criminal prosecution.  There could also be serious consequences under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) for failure to comply with U.S. federal tax laws (Internal Revenue Code).  Federal tax law abuse violates the terms of immigrant visas under the INA in certain circumstances.   ITIN holders must check their ITIN because the ITIN could be expired or expiring soon.

This law blog is written by the Taxation | Litigation | Immigration Law Firm of Coleman Jackson, P.C. for educational purposes; it does not create an attorney-client relationship between this law firm and its reader.  You should consult with legal counsel in your geographical area with respect to any legal issues impacting you, your family or business.

Coleman Jackson, P.C. | Taxation, Litigation, Immigration Law Firm | English (214) 599-0431 | Spanish (214) 599-0432

U.S. Immigration Petition Prices Set to Increase this December

October 27, 2016
By:  Coleman Jackson, Attorney

U.S. Immigration Petition Prices Set to Increase this December 2016

Have everybody heard?  It is official.  United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) fees are set to increase effective December 23, 2016.  Applications and immigration petitions postmarked or filed on or after December 23, 2016, must include the new fees or be rejected by USCIS.  Some examples of the fee increase effect on some of the more popular applications and petitions are as follows:

Form Number

Form Title

Fee-Effective 12-23-2016

Current Fee

I-90

Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card

$455

$365

I-102

Application for Replacement/Initial Nonimmigrant Arrival-Departure Document

455

330

I-129/129CW

Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker

460

325

I-129F

Petition for Alien Fiancé(e)

535

340

I-130

Petition for Alien Relative

535

420

I-131 /I-131A

Application for Travel Document

575

360

I-140

Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker

700

580

I-212

Application for Permission to Reapply for Admission into the U.S. After Deportation or Removal

903

585

I-360

Petition for Amerasian Widow(er) or Special Immigrant

435

405

I-485

Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status

1,140

985

I-485

Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status (certain applicants under the age of 14 years)

750

635

I-526

Immigrant Petition by Alien Entrepreneur

3,675

1,500

I-539

Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status

370

290

I-600/600A

Petition to Classify Orphan as an Immediate Relative /Application for Advance Petition Processing of Orphan Petition

775

720

I-800/800A

Petition to Classify Convention Adoptee as an Immediate Relative /Application for Determination of Suitability to Adopt a Child from a Convention Country

775

720

I-601

Application for Waiver of Ground of Excludability

930

585

I-601A

Application for Provisional Unlawful Presence Waiver

630

585

I-690

Application for Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility

715

200

I-694

Notice of Appeal of Decision

890

755

I-698

Application to Adjust Status From Temporary to Permanent Resident (Under Section 245A of the INA)

1,670

1,020

I-751

Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence

595

505

I-765

Application for Employment Authorization

410

380

I-824

Application for Action on an Approved Application or Petition

465

405

I-829

Petition by Entrepreneur to Remove Conditions

3,750

3,750

I-924

Application for Regional Center Designation Under the Immigrant Investor Program

17,795

6,230

I-924A

Annual Certification of Regional Center

3,035

0

I-929

Petition for Qualifying Family Member of a U-1 Nonimmigrant

230

215

N-336

Request for Hearing on a Decision in Naturalization Proceedings

640

595

N-400

Application for Naturalization

640

595

N-470

Application to Preserve Residence for Naturalization Purposes

355

330

N-565

Application for Replacement Naturalization/Citizenship Document

555

345

N-600/N-600K

Application for Certification of Citizenship/Application for Citizenship and Issuance of Certificate under INA Section 322

1,170

600/550

USCIS Immigrant Fee

220

165

Biometric Fee

85

85

The table of fees above does not list the names or filling fees for all immigrant petitions and applications.  Filing fee increases take effect on or after December 23, 2016.  New submissions must be submitted to the Department of Homeland Security (USCIS) with the payment associated fees attached.

This law blog is written by the Taxation | Litigation | Immigration Law Firm of Coleman Jackson, P.C. for educational purposes; it does not create an attorney-client relationship between this law firm and its reader.  You should consult with legal counsel in your geographical area with respect to any legal issues impacting you, your family or business.