Summary: H.R.441 — 106th Congress (1999-2000)All Information (Except Text)

Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

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Passed Senate amended (10/22/1999)

Nursing Relief for Disadvantaged Areas Act of 1999 - Amends the Immigration and Nationality Act to establish a four-year nonimmigrant (H-1C visa) classification for nonimmigrant registered nurses in health professional shortage areas.

Requires that an alien: (1) have a full foreign nursing license or has received U.S. nursing education; (2) have passed an appropriate examination or is a licensed nurse in the State of intended employment; and (3) be fully eligible to begin work in the petitioning facility.

Requires the facility to file an employment attestation with the Department of Labor with respect to such alien (or aliens) evidencing that: (1) similarly employed nurse's wages and conditions will not be adversely affected; (2) the alien's wages will be the same as other similarly employed nurses; (3) steps are being taken to recruit U.S. nurses (as set forth by this Act); (4) no labor dispute is involved; (5) no more than one-third of the facility's registered nurses will be H-1C aliens; (6) employment will not be performed at a facility other than the petitioning facility; and (7) notice of the petition for such alien nurses has been filed with the bargaining unit or other representative of the facility's registered nurses.

Directs the Secretary of Labor to: (1) compile a public list of petitioning facilities; (2) establish a process for complaint receipt, investigation, and disposition (including civil monetary penalties) against a noncomplying facility; and (3) impose an attestation filing fee of up to $250.

Limits: (1) aggregate fiscal year H-1C entrants to 500; and (2) fiscal year entrants in any one State to 25 and 50 in States with less or more than nine million inhabitants, respectively. Defines "facility" as a hospital: (1) in a health shortage area; (2) with at least 190 acute care beds; and (3) with at least 35 percent and 28 percent of its patients being Medicare and Medicaid patients, respectively.

Repeals the nonimmigrant nursing program (H-1A visa).

(Sec. 3) Directs the Secretary and the Secretary of Health and Human Services to recommend: (1) an alternative to the H-1C program as a permanent remedy to the registered nurse shortage; and (2) a more effective program enforcement system.

(Sec. 4) Amends the Immigration and Nationality Act to exempt certain nurses and physical therapists from foreign health care worker certification requirements.

(Sec. 5) Authorizes the Attorney General to waive the job offer requirement for an alien in the professions holding an advanced degree or of exceptional ability if in the national interest. Directs the Attorney General to grant such a waiver for an alien physician to work in a health care shortage area or at a Veterans facility if a Federal or State agency has previously determined such physician's work to be in the public interest (Prohibits such a physician to be issued a permanent resident visa or to adjust to permanent resident status before completing five years of such qualifying employment.)

(Sec. 6) Considers an accounting or management consulting service entity organized outside the United States to be an affiliate of certain U.S.- organized accounting or management consulting service entities if it markets its services under the same internationally recognized name through the same worldwide coordinating organization of which the U.S. entity is a member. (Thus permitting L-visa intra-company transfers of alien executives and employees.)