New Rules

Are you up-to-date on the new rules? All RNs have a decade to get their B.S. in Nursing if they don’t have one yet. Many are going back to school now!

Multiple Positions to be filled

We are currently accepting applicants for multiple positions in Westchester
– Food Service Manager
– Director of Social Service & Marketing
– MDS Coordinator
– Finance Controller
– Admissions Coordinator

Click to apply


Meridian’s Open House Event

Meridian's Open House Event

Refreshments will be served

Non-Immigrant Visa Options for Nurses –

In this post, other avenues for sponsorship are explored.

NIV Options for Nurses — Atty. Rio Guerrero

Since the H-1C nonimmigrant visa program sunset on December 20, 2009, visas for hundreds of nurses have expired or will soon expire, leaving H-1C-authorized healthcare employers struggling to provide much-needed professional nursing care with a dwindling nursing staff. Although H.R. 1933, which is currently pending before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, would reauthorize the H-1C nonimmigrant visa program, the sunset of this program casts light upon the dearth of nonimmigrant visa options available for foreign nurses and its negative impact upon nurse staffing nationwide. What are the alternatives for healthcare facilities in the United States?

Currently Available Nonimmigrant Visa Options for Nurses

Registered nurses are included in the list of professions eligible for TN status pursuant to Appendix 1603.D.1 to Annex 1603 of NAFTA.
It is difficult to accurately measure the precise number of Canadian and Mexican citizens currently employed as professional nurses in TN status, however, TN status is generally believed to be the most frequently utilized nonimmigrant option among foreign nurses employed in the United States. The primary advantage of TN status is the ease of entry. Registered nurses applying for admission in TN status may be employed in positions covering a wide scope of expertise – from entry-level RN placements to more senior administrative positions. However, the stark disadvantage of TN status is that the pool of potential foreign nurses is restricted to Canadian and Mexican citizens.

H-1B Specialty Occupation Workers
It is well-settled that certain specialty occupations in the nursing industry may qualify for H-1B  nonimmigrant status. Specifically, a narrow group of nurses holding a baccalaureate or higher degree (or equivalency) in nursing that includes advanced practice nurses (such as Clinical Nurse Specialists (CNS), Nurse Practitioners (NP), Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNA), and Certified Nurse-Midwives (CNM)), nurse managers, and nursing administrators, may qualify for H-1B status. According to USCIS data, the issuance of H-1B visas for specialty occupation nurses varies greatly from year to year. In recent history, the greatest number of H-1B nurse visas issued in any given fiscal year was only 136. Unlike TN status, the H-1B visa for specialty occupation nurses is available to qualified nurses from all foreign countries. However, the limited scope of eligible specialty occupations greatly narrows the potential use of the H-1B to fill U.S. nursing job vacancies. For instance, many RNs may not qualify for an H-1B because employers and state licensing boards do not usually require a BSN to perform services as a registered nurse.

Return of the H-1C?
The H-1C nonimmigrant classification enables foreign nurses to perform services as a registered
nurse in a U.S. health professional shortage area as determined by the U.S. Department of Labor
(DOL). To qualify for an H-1C visa, both the employer and employee must meet certain
eligibility criteria. The U.S. employer must:
-Be a “subsection (d)” hospital under the Social Security Act;
-Be located in a “Health Professional Shortage Area;”
– Have at least 190 acute care beds;
-Have a Medicare population of no less than 35%;
– Have a Medicaid population of no less than 28%; and
-Be certified by DOL.

The employee must:
-Hold a full and unrestricted nursing license in the country where their nursing education was obtained, or have received a nursing education in the U.S.;
-Have passed the examination administered by the Commission on Graduates for Foreign Nursing Schools (CGFNS), or have a full and unrestricted license to practice as a registered nurse in the state where the employee will work, or have a full and unrestricted registered nurse’s license in any state and have received temporary authorization to practice as a registered nurse in the state where the employee will work; and
-Have been fully qualified and eligible under the laws of the state of intended employment to practice as a registered nurse immediately upon admission to the U.S.

According to recent information provided by the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, H.R. 1933 remains on the Committee’s agenda, but is not yet scheduled for a Senate vote. As drafted, this legislation reauthorizes the availability of 300 H-1C visas (a departure from the 500 originally authorized under NRDAA) for an initial validity period of three years, with the opportunity to renew H-1C status for an additional three years. New aspects of H.R. 1933 include the three-year extension and H-1C portability between any of the eligible hospitals under INA §214(n). Whether H.R. 1933 becomes law remains to be determined, but it would no doubt assist authorized healthcare facilities to meet their nursing staff needs given that most H-1C visas have already expired.

Click here to view complete text for “Non-Immigrant Visa Options for Nurses”.

Immigration Woes of a Physical Therapist – Inquirer.Net

Happiness 2011



What would make me happy?

A great job?

A hot boyfriend?

A fulfilling relationship?

A brand-new car?

Travel around the world?

Or just getting along better with myself?

What is happiness all about?

There’s no universally accepted definition of what happiness is. To some, it’s free, to others it may costmillions of pesos. Happiness comes in different forms.

My project for 2011 was to find its meaning, and I was convinced I knew exactly what I needed to achieve it.

I like making time frames, planning ahead and setting goals. I do this on a daily, monthly and yearly basis.  I would list down the things that I need to do every day and I put a check mark on each once I’m done with it, and it gives me a sense of accomplishment.

For 2011, I had a long list of expectations and goals, and little did I know that one would turn into an obsession…

I got obsessed with my American dream.

If only there are better career opportunities here in the Philippines for physical therapists, I would prefer to just stay and be with my family. To work there one has to go through a long, cumbersome process and to take the state board exam which is given only in the United States. A few nightmares we have to go through are: “credentialing” to make sure our education is equivalent to US standards; passing the English exam; and getting a US visa.

I had been working on this for quite some time, and I was hoping that I could make it happen in 2011. I said to myself that if I made it, I would be truly happy. I got close to achieving this goal, so close that I could almost taste it.

But life is truly unpredictable, there are certain things that are beyond our control. Some decisions are not ours to make.

Despite everything I did, I wasn’t able to leave. This made me feel so frustrated, I felt like the universe was treating me unfairly.

So the waiting game continues to this day.

It was March when I was told by my agency to wait for six more months. Six months felt like forever, I consoled myself by saying I’ll get by, I’ll just make the most during the “waiting period.” But six months turned to seven, then nine. To make a long story short, it has been approximately four years (and still counting) of waiting since I was told to wait for six more months.

The waiting game made me feel insane!  I got feelings of anxiety and impatience. I blamed the universe for playing tricks on me. I felt like a lollipop has been dangled in front of me only to be cruelly taken away just as I reached out for it. I quietly prayed to God and asked for answers.  “Lord I thought you want me to be happy, but why is this happening?  But whatever it is, Lord, I trust you, I know you have better plans for me.”

After the phone call I had from my agency telling me about another “delay,” I wanted to cry, but my three-year-old niece gave me a tight warm hug which made me feel better.

During the waiting period, I did a lot of stuff just to keep my mind from my frustrations. I would offer to babysit my adorable niece and nephew at my brother’s new home (they recently moved to the Philippines from Singapore). I spent more time with my family. I also went back to the review center and met amazing people and new friends. I was able to enjoy running again and joined my brother and some friends in a couple of fun runs. I got into yoga and enjoyed it beyond my expectations. And I was able to do a lot of reading, caught up with my favorite TV programs and movies.  I was able to play the guitar and sing again. I had more “me” time (thank you for the amazing online deals that I was able to get for myself and the pampering that I needed). I was able to sort out my cluttered thoughts, which enabled me to write this.

Year 2011 was all about waiting, and during this period, I realized that I found the happiness I have been looking for.  My family, my friends, my newfound interests, the good weather, an appreciation from patients thanking me for somehow making them feel better are just some of the countless things that made me happy in the year past. I learned about faith-based optimism, to let go of expectations and my obsession about achieving a specific goal at a particular time. I also learned that it’s good to plan and to be optimistic about your plans, but no matter how hard a person plans something, if it is not the right time, it won’t happen.

I do have plans, but it is God’s plan that will prevail in the end. This waiting period has given me the opportunity to understand what I really want, and to realize that some dreams would not necessarily give me the happiness that I am looking for.

Like what most people say, a flower will grow and bloom on its own good time. There’s no need to give it a deadline. If it’s not growing as fast as we want to, we just have to trust Mother Nature. For a beautiful flowerto bloom, it has to have enough water and sunlight. We can always trust a flower to bloom, but we cannot guarantee the precise moment when it will spread its petals. So is trusting God, He knows what is best for us, and we can always complement our hard work and determination with prayers.

Happiness is like a switch; when to turn it on or off is within our control, we just have to know where the switch is. It is something that we don’t wait to happen, it is something that we do. It doesn’t wait on time, it is not something that waits for the future. We just have to open up and let it in.

I celebrated New Year’s Eve with my loved ones and I can say that my search for happiness has been a real success. I am looking forward to more reasons to be happy in 2012.  I will continue to pursue my dreams and finish what I have already started but this time, with a hopeful and happy heart because I believe that happiness leads to success, not the other way around. Success is the icing on the cake, the cherry on top of the ice cream, a bonus to my already awesome life.


Aina, 29, is a freelance physical therapist. She wrote this piece last New Year’s Eve, while looking back to year 2011.

Immigration Counsel and HR Departments

The genesis of much of the successful work produced by our law firm originates from a company’s human resources (HR) director or department. A company’s HR department may have a prospective employee, or a current employee, for whom an immigration matter has arisen that must be resolved in order to begin or continue lawful employment. Typically, an HR associate or director asks us what information we need to build a winning case before U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

A client’s HR department will call or email our firm asking whether a prospective (or current) employee possesses the correct work authorization documentation. Do they have the correct non-immigrant visa status in place? There is an alphabet soup of visa options – such as H, E, L, O, P, TN, etc. – available to foreign nationals seeking authorization to work in the U.S. Or, do they have a currently valid employment authorization document (EAD)? An EAD is commonly issued to persons who are in the process of applying for U.S. lawful permanent resident status, more commonly known as “green card” status. There are other situations whereby a foreign national may obtain an EAD.

When initially analyzing any potential employment-based visa matter, immigration attorneys consider three vital components:

The Employer

At a minimum, USCIS is typically concerned with two issues regarding a prospective sponsoring employer:

  • the legitimacy of the employer’s business operations; and
  • its ability to pay whatever the minimum wage or salary may be required for a particular position.

The Position

USCIS is also focused upon the position offered:

  • Is this a specialty occupation job or a professional job?
  • Considering the particular industry at issue, what is the minimum education and work experience required?
  • Are there other specific requirements for this position such as licenses, languages, credentialing, security clearances or certifications?
  • Does this position customarily exist for similar employers in this industry?

The Employee

  • If there is a minimum of education and/or work experience required for the position, has the individual met it/them?
  • Has the individual met any licensure, language, etc. minimum requirements?
  • Is the individual in the country legally, and if yes:
    Is their immigration status adequate for the position, or can it be changed easily to a visa status that will authorize employment for this position?
  • Will they have to travel outside of the country in order to make any necessary visa status change?
  • Does the individual have any derogatory immigration or criminal history?
  • Does the individual have any immediate family who wish to accompany him/her in the U.S.?

Generally, these three components are the focus of our initial analysis and a helpful starting point for our HR colleagues. Every case is unique, no matter how it may appear similar to another. From the outset, it is important for HR and immigration counsel to work together – asking the right questions and procuring the vital documentation to properly analyze a matter and develop a winning strategy.

Immigration Counsel and HR Departments | Guerrero Yee LLP – The Immigration Specialists | Share on LinkedIn.


ORLANDO, Fla. – Health care staffing agency Jackson Therapy Partners, based in Orlando, has paid $134,073 in back wages to 40 nonimmigrant employees hired under the H-1B program to work as physical and occupational therapists in 15 states, following an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division.

Investigators found that the employer failed to pay the H-1B workers the required wage rate for the period of time between arrival from their home country, the Philippines, and reporting to their temporary work sites. Under the H-1B program, workers must be paid for all nonproductive time caused by their employers.

The employees worked in the following locations: Fayette and Northport, Ala.; Fresno, Calif.; Smyrna, Del.; Altoona, Boca Raton, Crystal River, Debary, Deland, Eustis, Lady Lake, Lake Mary, Melbourne, Ocala, Sanford, Starke and Stuart, Fla.; Chicago, Deerfield, Lincoln, Piper City, Quincy and Streator, Ill.; Monticello and South Bend, Ind.; Hopkinsville, Ky.; Baltimore and Prince Frederick, Md.; Ludington, Mich.; Whiting, N.J.; Fayetteville, Morehead City and New Bern, N.C.; Cincinnati, Ohio; Narvon, Philadelphia and Sinking Spring, Pa.; Brownsville, La Joya, McAllen, Rockport, Texarkana and Weslaco, Texas; and Rainelle, W.Va.

“The U.S. Department of Labor is responsible for enforcing some of our nation’s most comprehensive federal labor laws, including provisions in certain temporary worker programs such as H-1B,” said Michael Young, director of the Wage and Hour Division’s Jacksonville District Office. “The Wage and Hour Division vigorously enforces H-1B visa rules to protect both the rights of U.S. citizens and the temporary employees in this program. Employers should not unduly benefit from hiring H-1B workers to fill jobs as opposed to hiring U.S. workers.”

As established under the Immigration and Nationality Act, the H-1B program applies to employers that hire non-U.S. workers in specialty occupations. The program helps employers that cannot obtain needed business skills and abilities from the U.S. workforce by authorizing the temporary employment of qualified individuals who are not otherwise authorized to work in the U.S. The H-1B regulations establish standards to protect the H-1B workers as well as similarly employed U.S. workers from being adversely affected by the employment of nonimmigrant workers. Employers must attest to the Labor Department that they will pay wages to the H-1B workers at least equal to the wages paid by the employer to other workers with similar experience and qualifications for the job in question, or the prevailing wage for the occupation in the area of intended employment – whichever is greater.

This case was investigated by the Wage and Hour Division’s Jacksonville District Office, located at 400 W. Bay St., Suite 956, Jacksonville, Fla. 32202; telephone 904-359-9292.

For more information about the laws enforced by the Wage and Hour Division, call its national toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243). Information is also available on the Internet at


U.S. Lifts Ban on Pinoy Physical Therapists | Balitang America

MANILA, Philippines – Filipino physical therapists (PTs) can take the US licensure exams again.

The US Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy (FSBPT) said it did not find evidence to prove that Filipino PTs cheated in the 2007 tests.

There were allegations that answers to the 2007 exams were leaked in some schools and review centers in the Philippines.

The FSBPT launched an investigation into the issue and banned Filipino PTs from taking licensure tests starting in July.

Filipino PTs need to pass the exams before they can work in the US.

Dr. Reynaldo Matias, president of the Association of Physical Therapist and Occupational Therapist Schools of the Philippines, welcomed the FSBPT’s decision to lift the ban.

“This is a positive development. We want the therapist to embody the oath of professionalism and keep commitment to the country, profession, and public that we promise to serve,” he said.

He added that the suspension also served as a lesson for them.

“Through the Commission on Higher Education, we wanted the schools to teach the students that there is ethics. There should be ethics regarding contractual agreement,” Matias said.

The FSBPT, meanwhile, has revised the format of its licensure exams that will be offered in May and December next year.

Under the new format, examinees must answer 250 items in 5 hours.

The public can get more information at the FSBPT’s website /

via U.S. Lifts Ban on Pinoy Physical Therapists | Balitang America.

Physical Therapists in the Philippines Banned from Taking U.S. Physical Therapy Exam | Balitang America

hysical Therapists in the Philippines Banned from Taking U.S. Physical Therapy Exam

Written by adminFeatured News, News HighlightsJul 20, 2010

By Don Tagala, ABS-CBN North America News Bureau


Woodside, New York— Lemuel Tagaan came to the U.S. in January this year to take some review lessons and eventually to take the National Physical Therapy exam or NPTE.

The Cebuano’s dream was to eventually work in a rehabilitation facility in New York.

But after spending about a $1,000 on review schools and credential evaluating exams in the Philippines and in New York, he found out that he is one of the hundreds of physical therapists from the Philippines who were banned to take the test.

This U.S. Licensure Exam would have been the last step he needed to take to be able to work legally here as a physical therapist

“Yun na lang talaga… Pasado na ako sa lahat ng credentials ko, evaluated na, pasado na ako sa English ko, sa Visa Screen pasado na, yung exam na lang talaga,” said 26- year -old Lemuel Tagaan.

Another physical therapist who can’t take the test, Al Abalo said, “It’s so devastating, and of course, sad kasi naghihirap kasi kaming mag study tapos yun yung craft naming eh, yung mag work as physical therapists dito sa United States.”

The Federation Of State Boards of Physical Therapy or FSBPT’s ban on Filipinos came after an unknown group of exam takers from the Philippines allegedly shared exam answers with others.

“Huwag naman sanang i-ban, kung ano lang, puwede baguhin na lang nila ang exam every now and then, hindi naman ban,” said Tagaan

28- year- old Abalo, who also came to the U.S. in January, had already taken the NPTE test in June but he failed by only 1%.  So when he decided to retake the exam, the ban was already in effect.

Abalo said, since he can’t work as a physical therapist, he decided to take a job at a rehabilitation facility in Brooklyn, New York as a therapy aide.  He gets paid much lower than what physical therapists would earn.

Abalo said, “Para sa akin ok na rin yun, kaysa wala di ba, at least parang na-pa-practice mo na rin yung kakayahan mo as physical therapist kasi nag trabaho ka rin sa rehab clinics.”

Both Tagaan and Abalo joined an online petition to lift the ban on immigrants to take the exam.

The petition protests the alleged discriminatory action of the FSBPT. The petition also cites that law-abiding, honest and hard working physical therapists should not be punished.

Tagaan said he’d like to call on all physical therapists  “Na para i-fight natin yun right natin, kasi unfair yung ginagawa nila sa ating mga foreign trained physical therapists, kailangan we all be united para ma fight natin, para maririnig nila  kung ano yung panawagan natin. ”

Abalo advised our kababayans, “Para sa akin don’t lose hope, dapat mag-pray tayo palagi tapos kung wala pang work eh di maghanap muna di ba for the meantime habang wala.”

via Physical Therapists in the Philippines Banned from Taking U.S. Physical Therapy Exam | Balitang America.

Rehabilitation Professionals Apply Now