U.S.A. Fast Facts
Last June 17, Vintage Health Resources and Abba Personnel Services, Inc. held a 2-hour event in Astoria Plaza, Ortigas exclusively for registered nurses in the Philippines, called Fast Track To U.S.A. During the orientation, VHR and Abba received a number of questions from the 352 attendees. Below are some of the questions and their corresponding answers.
QUESTIONS ABOUT THE NCLEX
Q: Does Abba Personnel Services, Inc. assist with NCLEX processing?
A: We encourage nurses to schedule and process their NCLEX on their own since all the information they need can be easily accessed online. Additionally, VHR and Abba allows applicants to take the NCLEX using any state since VHR can take charge of transferring your licensure to another state. We highly recommend nurses to use Saipan since it is the one with the easiest and most cost-efficient process (no outsourced credentialing company AND no fingerprinting!). We do not have any vacancies in Saipan, but rest assured that VHR will take care of your licensure's reciprocity once you arrive in the U.S.
Q: When will my successful NCLEX result expire?
A: No, a successful NCLEX result never expires. This makes a successful NCLEX result very important because it automatically opens many opportunities to a nurse.
Q: I have taken my NCLEX in a state not covered by any of VHR and Abba’s current vacancies. Will I be required to take it again?
A: A successful NCLEX is all you need. We do not have a preferred state for your NCLEX. As long as you have passed the NCLEX, VHR will process for the reciprocity of your license if necessary once you arrive in the U.S.
Q: I am already an NCLEX passer. Will VHR and Abba help with the PD application? If yes, will the assistance be charged at a fee and how long will it take for me to get my PD?
A: Yes, VHR will file for your PD at no extra cost. On average, it takes our applicants around 2-5 months to get their PDs.
Q: I am already holding an NCLEX RN license in Texas. Will you automatically assign me to Texas or will we take the reciprocity if assigned to another state?
A: We have clients in Texas so we can definitely consider this if your professional background qualifies. However, it’s important to keep yourself open to other options since we might recommend a hospital located in another state where we think you’ll fit better. Rest assured that VHR will take care of processing your license’s reciprocity if ever the latter happens.
Q: I am already an IELTS passer. Is it okay for me to register for Visa Screen even if I haven’t passed the NCLEX yet?
A: The below graph shows the important requirements to be able to get an Embassy Interview.
Technically, an IELTS passer will be allowed to register for Visa Screen since this is the main requirement for the latter. However, your application will not push through to the Embassy Interview unless you already have a petition, which we will only file once you have passed the NCLEX. The validity period of the IELTS and Visa Screen makes the process even trickier: If any of them expires prior to the filing of your petition, you will not be able to proceed to the Embassy Interview. Therefore, we advise our nurses to take the NCLEX first since its result never expires; the IELTS and Visa Screen can be accomplished later. In your case, you need to pass the NCLEX ASAP so we can eventually proceed to your petition and Visa Screen. Hopefully, we get to accomplish all of these before your IELTS result expires.
QUESTIONS ABOUT THE IELTS
Q: Will I be required to take the IELTS if I am already marrying a U.S. citizen?
A: Yes, you will still be required to take the IELTS as this is a strict requirement among all EB-3 visa applicants, regardless of the spouse’s citizenship.
Q: Will my successful UKVI IELTS result be acceptable for my U.S. application?
A: Yes, your UKVI IELTS result will be accepted for your U.S. application.
QUESTIONS ON VISA AND IMMIGRATION
Q: What is the U.S. EB-3 visa retrogression and how will it affect my U.S. application?
A: The EB-3 visa is the employment-based immigrant visa that VHR and Abba uses for its nurses. The U.S. Government allows the Immigration Department to issue only a limited number of EB-3 visas every year which they usually manage through chronological order: the earlier you file for your petition, the earlier your application will be prioritized for processing. With this, Immigration uses an applicant’s date of petition filing as its main reference point, which is commonly called the priority date.
Ever since 2006 – 2007, the demand for EB-3 visas has been exceeding the number of visas that can be issued in that applications are being processed much later than the applicant’s priority date. This situation is more popularly known as retrogression: A petition filed today may only be processed several years after.
Since the number of EB-3 visa applicants vary every now and then, your waiting period for completing your U.S. application will likewise fluctuate. The retrogression is a factor that we cannot control, so it’s important to focus on the ones that we can.
Q: How long will my U.S. nurse application take?
A: Without the EB-3 visa retrogression, your U.S. application ca be processed within 1 – 1.5 years upon filing your petition. With the current EB-3 visa retrogression, it can take you up to 3 – 5 years.
Q: Will pursuing my EB-3 visa application complicate my other petition (I-130) with regards to priority date?
A: It will not necessarily complicate your I-130 priority date but we recommend that you stick to just 1 immigrant visa application, and that is your I-130 visa. We understand that pursuing both will give you more options and possibly higher chances for an earlier deployment, but having 2 applications will be too costly for you. At the same time, we will spend money, time and effort just to process your EB-3 visa application. If you already have an I-130 visa application and your PD for this one comes first, you will most likely drop your application with us and completely disregard all of our investments in your application. This will be too risky for us so we’d rather you continue pursuing your I-130 visa application.
Q: The agency that processed my U.S. nurse application papers has already closed. Is there a way for us to know if a petition was done? Is there also a way for us to retrieve it?
A: The simplest way to verify the existence of a petition is through an Approval Notice document. However, it is important for you to keep in touch with your old agency or employer to know more about this and also gather documentary proof that they have dropped your application.
Q: Will my U.S. nurse application be affected by the Trump administration?
A: The Trump administration is very vocal in its concern on the increasing number of immigrants in the U.S., but it is pertaining to those who migrate to the country illegally. Since our nurses are applying for EB-3 visas (immigrant employment-based visa), they go through a rigorous, legitimate process for the opportunity to work and settle with their families in the U.S. Their application will not be affected by the Trump administration.
Q: Do I have to be a U.S. citizen to be able to get a U.S. Social Security Number (SSN)?
A: One doesn’t have to be a U.S. citizen to get a U.S. Social Security Number. VHR helps our nuses get SSNs once they arrive in the U.S. even if they’re not citizens yet.
QUESTIONS ON PROFESSIONAL QUALIFICATIONS
Q: I am not working in a tertiary hospital. Does this mean I’m not qualified?
A: The first thing that you have to focus on is passing the NCLEX: If you haven’t passed it yet, working in an environment less demanding than that of a tertiary hospital’s will still be okay since you can spend this time preparing for the NCLEX. It is advisable for you to start working in a tertiary hospital once you have already passed the NCLEX so that you can be qualified for an interview with VHR. You have several years ahead of you so you still have the time to plan it out.
Q: I have passed the NCLEX and I am working at a tertiary hospital. However, I’m currently working an area of specialization that’s not “preferred”. Does that mean I’m not qualified?
A: For now, VHR and Abba will prioritize applicants who have accomplished all requirements (NCLEX passer working in a tertiary hospital and in a preferred area) since they match all the specific needs of our clients. It is important for you to consider working in one of our preferred areas ASAP since this is the last important requirement you need to be considered for an interview. You have already accomplished the first two requirements—don’t let this last one stall your progress!
Q: I’d been working in Saudi Arabia since 2003 but I stopped last year. Am I qualified to apply in the U.S.? If not, what shall I do?
A: Yes, you may still qualify for an interview with VHR as long as you are also an NCLEX passer. We are allowing a maximum of 2 years work gap among our applicants. However, you have to be employed in a tertiary level hospital and assigned to an adult bedside care area within 1 year from the date you were approved by VHR.
Q: I’m currently working as a Nurse Supervisor, but I have a total of 7 years work experience in a Medical / Surgical Ward. Will this be sufficient for the employer?
A: Yes, you may still qualify for an interview with the client as long as you are also an NCLEX passer. If approved, you will start as a Staff Nurse in the Medical / Surgical Ward. Moving forward, the hospital may realize your potential and possibly promote you after a few years.
Q: Currently, I am working in a BPO company and doing volunteer work in an ER department once a week. Will that suffice as an experience?
A: VHR and Abba prioritizes NCLEX passer nurses who are currently working on regular employment in an acute care tertiary hospital. Requiring this among nurses prepares them for their future work environment since all of our clients are modern, state-of-the-art tertiary hospitals as well. We recommend you review for the NCLEX first while you’re still working in a less demanding environment. Once you have passed, you can start working in an acute care tertiary hospital in one of the preferred areas since these are the qualifications for an interview with VHR.
Q: Does VHR and Abba have any age limitations in hiring?
A: In line with the government rules of the U.S. and the Philippines, we only require our applicants to be at least 18 years old. Other than that, we do not have any age requirements when it comes to hiring.
Q: My child has autism. Would there be any impact with the application?
A: It will not impact your application. VHR takes care of our nurses’ families and they ensure there is a good school or child care center near the institution where the nurse will be working at.
VHR will visit Manila once again to conduct client interviews in October 2017. If you’re an NCLEX passer with at least 1 year work experience in the ICU/Cardiac Care/CCU/MICU/SICU/General Ward/Medical or Surgical Ward/ER/Telemetry/Catheter Laboratory/OR/Rehabilitation, we can definitely prequalify you. Choose from these 2 easy ways to apply:
1. PRIORITY: Create an account in https://applicant.abba.ph and personally visit us together with hardcopies of your pertinent documents + NCLEX Pass Letter / CGFNS Certificate. Look for Wella.
2. Apply online by visiting this link: https://applicant.abba.ph/vacancies/esi6ko.
Wella Untalan is a Recruitment Assistant in Abba Personnel Services, Inc. She joined our team last August 2016 and has been handling clients from various countries such as the USA, Saudi Arabia and UAE. She graduated from St. Paul College Quezon City with a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology.