The U.S. Department of Labor recognizes that there are shortages of U.S. workers in certain occupations and that it would be inefficient to require employers sponsoring foreign workers in these occupations to undertake the standard PERM recruitment process. These occupations are called “Schedule A Occupations.” Schedule A Occupations are divided into two groups – Schedule A, Group 1, for professional nurses and physical therapists, and Schedule A, Group II for persons of exceptional ability in the sciences or arts and university teachers.
Employers sponsoring Schedule A workers for the green card process are not required to file a PERM application with the Department of Labor Instead, these employers must submit a PERM application to USCIS along with a petition to classify the foreign national as an immigrant worker (I-140 Petition). However, all Schedule A filings must include a prevailing wage determination from the appropriate State Workforce Agency (SWA). If the Schedule A employer has a union, it must notify the bargaining representative that an immigrant visa petition is being filed. If the Schedule A employer does not have a bargaining representative, it is required to post a notice of the job opening at the place of employment for 10 business days.
Schedule A, Group 1, Professional Nurses: A Professional Nurse is defined as follows:
A person who applies the art and science of nursing which reflects comprehension of principles derived from the physical, biological and behavioral sciences. Professional nursing generally includes making clinical judgments involving the observation, care and counsel of persons requiring nursing care; administering of medicines and treatments prescribed by the physician or dentist; and participation in the activities for the promotion of health and prevention of illness in others. A program of study for professional nurses generally includes theory and practice in clinical areas such as obstetrics, surgery, pediatrics, psychiatry and medicine.
To qualify as a Professional Nurse under Schedule A, the candidate must hold a certificate from CGFNS, a permanent license to practice in the state of intended employment, or have passed the NCLEX-RN. Registered Nurses, Nursing School Directors, Nurse Anesthetists, Nurses – Office and School, Nurse Supervisors, Nurse Instructors, and Nurse Practitioners are considered Schedule A Professional Nurses. Licensed Vocational Nurses, Licensed Practical Nurses, Certified Nurse Assistants, and Nurse’s Aides are not considered Schedule A Professional Nurses.
Schedule A, Group 1, Physical Therapists: A Physical Therapist is defined as follows:
A person who applies the art and science of physical therapy to the treatment of patients with disabilities, disorders and injuries to relieve pain, develop or restore function, and maintain performance, using physical means, such as exercise, massage, heat, water, light, and electricity, as prescribed by a physician (or surgeon).
To qualify as a Schedule A Physical Therapist, the candidate must have attained a minimum of a post-baccalaureate degree in physical therapy from an accredited education program in the U.S. or abroad. Licensure is not required, however, the candidate must “possess all the qualifications necessary to take the physical therapist licensing examination” in the state of intended employment.
Schedule A, Group II, Exceptional Ability in the Arts & Sciences is defined as follows:
In order to qualify for this category (except performing artists), a candidate must demonstrate current widespread acclaim and international recognition accorded by experts in the field. Further, a candidate must document that he or she has practiced in a particular field over the past year, intends to practice in the same field, and his or her practice will require exceptional ability. The candidate must satisfy at least two of the following seven requirements:
In order to qualify under Schedule A, Group II as a Performing Artist, a candidate must demonstrate that his or her work over the past year did require and his or her intended work will require exceptional ability. Also, the candidate must demonstrate exceptional ability through documentation such as: (1) attestations of current widespread acclaim and international recognition; (2) receipt of international prizes or awards for excellence; (3) published material by or about the candidate (i.e., critical reviews or articles in major newspapers, periodicals, or trade journals; (4) evidence of earnings commensurate with the claimed level of ability; (5) playbill and star billings; (6) attestations to the outstanding reputation of theaters, concert halls, nightclubs, and other venues in which the candidate has or is scheduled to perform; and, (7) attestations to the outstanding reputation of theaters, repertory companies, ballet troupes, orchestras, or groups with which the candidate has performed in a leading or starring capacity over the past year.