Q: What is the latest news with regard to the new PERM system for obtaining permanent residence for employment-based immigrants?

A: Lately, the first few approvals have appeared. However, the number of denials is already in the thousands. The reasons for this are explained in the current issue of our newsletter athttp://shusterman.com/siu.html.

Q: Is amnesty a possibility in the near future?

A: Although Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., recently introduced legislation that would provide for an “earned legalization,” the bill stands little chance of passing in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives where anti-immigration sentiment is strong.

Q: Have the 20,000 extra H-1B visas been used up?

A: Not by a long shot. As of May 20, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) reported that they had only received 6,300+ petitions under this program.

Q: I heard that a new law passed which provides for 50,000 extra EB-3 visas for registered nurses, physical therapists, and their families. When will this law be implemented?

A: The law was signed by President Bush on May 11, 2005. The implementation date should be sometime in June. This new law will effectively end the three-year retrogression in priority dates for RNs and PTs born in India, China, and the Philippines.

Q: What is the outlook for persons who wish to immigrate to the United States through their jobs?

A: We expect that the EB-3 category will become unavailable worldwide starting either in July or in August of 2005. When this happens, no new green cards in the EB-3 category will be approved, and no new applications will be accepted by the government. We also expect that the EB-2 category will backlog substantially. Starting Oct. 1, 2005, the EB-2 and EB-3 categories will reopen, but probably only for a few months.

Q: What is the current outlook for the immigration of foreign-born physicians?

A: Very good. Most will obtain either J-1 or H-1B visas to pursue medical residencies. All 50 states have implemented Conrad 30 programs, and four federal agencies (ARC, DRA, HHS, and the VA) sponsor international medical graduates (IMGs) for J waivers. Sadly, many more IMGs could be sponsored, but are not. Hundreds of sponsorship slots go to waste each year. For more information, please see http://shusterman.com/toc-phys.html.

Q: I have been waiting for years to obtain a green card. How do I change my immigration lawyer?

A: Easy. Simply make an appointment with another immigration lawyer. Some states—California, Florida, North Carolina, and Texas—make it easy to find a knowledgeable, experienced immigration attorney by designating Certified Specialists in Immigration Law. Your new attorney will order your file from your previous attorney, and will follow up your application.

Carl Shusterman is a former INS Trial Attorney and a Certified Specialist in Immigration and Nationality Law. He manages a five-attorney practice based in Los Angeles. (213) 623-4592.www.shusterman.com