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Frequently Asked Questions

How does the JHHS process the International application?

See a diagram that describes the International Recruitment process.

What type of immigration sponsorship does the Johns Hopkins Health System offer to Foreign Nurses?

The Johns Hopkins Health System (JHHS) will sponsor foreign nurses for permanent residence by submitting an I-140 petition on their behalf. The I-140 petition is sometimes referred to as the “green card” or “permanent residence” petition.

Due to the prolonged visa retrogression and currently low RN vacancy rates, the JHHS has temporarily placed this program on hold. A Health System steering committee continues to monitor regulatory changes in the immigration process and the supply of RNs to determine when the program should be reinstated.

What is visa retrogression?

The U.S. government releases a limited number of immigrant visas (green cards) each year. These visas are distributed across all the various immigrant visa categories and countries from which applicants seek to immigrate. A backlog occurs when there are more requests for immigrant visas than the law allows to be issued in any one year. This backlog in releasing visas to accommodate the demand is referred to as “visa retrogression.”

Since the permanent residence process takes so long to complete, can JHHS sponsor RNs for H-1B status?

JHHS does not presently sponsor RNs for H-1B status.

What is H-1B visa program?

The H1B program, which has a current allocation of 85,000 per year, allows foreign professionals to work in the U.S. for up to six (6) years. This program allows U.S. employers to sponsor baccalaureate-prepared individuals for H-1B status to perform a job that requires a bachelor’s or higher degree.

I have a BSN. Am I eligible for H1-B status?

In the nursing field, unless the Hospital requires all RNs to have a BSN, only the following types of positions could generally qualify for H1-B sponsorship: (1) advanced practice nursing, (2) administrative nursing, and (3) specialty nursing.

Since there is no industry-wide standard that RNs generally need a baccalaureate degree to perform as an RN, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), does not normally recognize the position as being eligible for H-1B status.

What is F1-status with OPT?

Foreign students in the U.S. generally study in F-1 status. This status is generally reserved for non-immigrants wishing to pursue academic studies and/or language training programs in the U.S.

Optional Practical Training (OPT) is a period during which undergraduate and graduate students in F-1 status, who have completed or have been pursuing their degrees for more than nine months, are authorized by the USCIS to work for up to one year. Sometimes, extensions are available, depending on the student’s field of study. Authorized students will be issued an EAD, an “employment authorization document.”

What is the JHHS current policy on hiring students in F-1 status who have OPT?

Because the cost of training new nurses is extensive, JHHS has determined that it will no longer hire or recruit RNs who have no means of securing employment authorization beyond the Optional Practical Training (OPT) period. This rule is necessitated by the varied and unpredictable timing to complete a proper filing for permanent residence.

PLEASE NOTE, however, that candidates, even those students in F-1 status, who have an alternative basis for employment authorization in the U.S., are not affected by this rule. These include RNs who may be able to apply for long-term employment authorization due to:

1. their own family-based application for permanent residence,
2. a spouse’s application for permanent residence, which includes the nurse and which has or will – before the OPT ends—provide the nurse with employment authorization,
3. their own application for or maintenance of asylee or refugee status,
4. their Canadian or Mexican citizenship and eligibility under NAFTA for TN status,
5. their authorization to work with an EAD under E, H-4, J-2, L-2, DACA, or other statuses.

Essentially, RNs in the US in a status that allows them to secure extended employment authorization beyond OPT are not affected by this policy and may be considered for employment.

Does the policy above also apply to Unlicensed Assistive Personnel (UAP) positions?

The policy only applies to RN positions and does not affect UAP applicants.

I was originally hired by JHHS for a UAP position while I was on OPT. Since I am already an employee, can I bid for RN position without being subjected to the policy described above?

The aforementioned policy is for both internal and external applicants who require sponsorship to be eligible to work or continue to work in the U.S.

I have clearly indicated in my application that I will be able to extend my OPT for another 2- year period because I will go back to school to pursue my MSN, then after a year will apply for Doctorate or Nurse Practitioner curriculum. Why did I still receive a regret letter from the JHHS Career Specialist?

The policy is based on JHHS’s inability to provide sponsorship to foreign nurses due to the prolonged visa retrogression. Applicants who plan on extending their OPT by enrolling to a higher nursing degree may still require sponsorship from the JHHS in order to maintain the legal right to work in the US.

I have a double degree which makes me eligible for the special 24-month Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Extension, would JHHS consider my application for a RN position?

STEM is a 24-month extension offered to F-1 status holders who have completed their initial OPT and possess degree in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) as designated by the Department of Homeland Security. STEM extensions are not available to BSN holders because the field of nursing is not on the STEM list. Moreover, since the field of study and the field of work must be directly related, STEM extensions will not be available to BSN graduates on OPT.

Since these candidates would generally still require JHHS sponsorship upon completion of this one-time extension, the policy applies and will bar employment of these candidates.

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