INS Implements Complaint Procedures

In an effort to better establish lines of communication between visitors to the United States and the INS, the Department has established procedures by which concerned individuals can report any incidents of misconduct, mistreatment or allegations of abuse, fraud, waste or mismanagement. These procedures may help individuals concerned by treatment by INS officials during the recent Special Registrations in their efforts to address INS misconduct. Individuals accosted or mistreated at U.S. borders may also find these complaint procedures helpful.

Please keep in mind that the Office of the Inspector General made no other statements concerning levels of confidentiality regarding these complaint procedures and there is no guarantee that all cases will be investigated.

Complaints should be made in writing to:

Office of the Inspector General, US Department of Justice, Investigations Division, 950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW , Room 4706, Washington, DC 20530.

For more information, you can email or telephone the hotline at oig.hotline@usdoj.gov or 1-800-869-4499.

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Department of Labor Eases the Labor Certification Process for Nurses

In late 2002 the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) informed the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) that it will make certain exceptions regarding schedule A nurses. The DOL will now authorize employers to receive a schedule A labor certification on behalf of nurses who have successfully passed the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN).

Previous to this notice, schedule A nurses were required to either pass the Commission on Graduates of Foreign Schools (CGFNS) exam or possess a permanent license to practice nursing in the state in which they wished to work.

Many U.S. states, however, were licensing foreign nurses to practice nursing in their state, as long as the nurses successfully passed the NCLEX-RN. This process contained certain inherent problems. After successful completion of the NCLEX-RN and prior to receiving state licensure, many states required nurses to provide, among other things, a social security number (SSN). Many nurses, however, enter the U.S. under a nonimmigrant status that does not require individuals to obtain SSNs (eg: the B-2 visitor for pleasure visa). And, in order to receive an SSN, the nurses would have to provide the Social Security Administration proof of employment authorization.

In order to counteract this confusing situation and to enable these foreign nurses to practice nursing in the U.S., the DOL is now calling for all INS Service Centers to “favorably consider the I-140 petition for a foreign nurse, as being eligible for a schedule A labor certification, upon presentation of a certified copy of a letter from the state of intended employment which confirms that the alien has passed the NCLEX-RN examination and is eligible to be issued a license to practice nursing in that state.”

In other words, foreign nurses (who meet all other requirements) who pass the NCLEX-RN examination and receive a letter from the state in which they intend to work that states they passed the exam and are licensed to practice in that state, should now be eligible for the I-140 petition.

INS Now Requires Aircrafts to Submit Electronic Passenger Manifests

In its continuing effort to heighten public safety and national security, the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS), on December 31, announced a new program requiring advance submission of passenger data. This new program, effective January 1, 2003, requires all commercial carriers to electronically submit detailed passenger manifests to the INS before the aircraft leaves or arrives in the U.S.

This program, mandated by Congress in the Enhanced Border Security and Visa Entry Reform Act of 2002, requires that the following passenger information be included in the manifest:

•  full name;

•  date of birth;

•   citizenship status;

•  gender

•  passport number, including the nation of passport issuance;

•  nation of residence

•  if applicable, U.S. visa number and date and place of issuance;

•  if applicable, alien registration number;

•  address while located within the U.S.; and

•  other applicable data, as defined by the Attorney General and the Secretaries of State and Treasury.

This proposed rule was published January 3, 2003 and is now open for a 30-day comment period.