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Schedule A: Fast Track for Physical Therapists

Physical Therapist H-1b

Schedule A is a list of occupations for which the U.S. Department of Labor has determined that there is an insufficient number of U.S. workers who are able, willing, qualified and available. Inclusion on Schedule A also establishes that the employment of foreign workers in such occupations will not adversely affect the wages and working conditions of U.S. workers similarly employed. The greatest advantage of being on Schedule A is that the foreign worker can obtain a green card without first having to go through the entire labor certification process, therby saving processing time.

Definition of a Physcial Therapist

A "physical therapist'' is defined as a person who applies the art and science of physical therapy to the treatment of patients with disabilities, disorders and injuries to relieve pain, develop or restore function, and maintain performance. The physical therapist uses physical means such as exercise, massage, heat, water, light, and electricity, as prescribed by a physician or surgeon.

To Qualify:

To qualify for Schedule A processing, a physical therapist must possess all the qualifications necessary to take the physical therapist licensing examination in the state in which he or she proposes to practice physical therapy.

Physical therapists also fall within the meaning of "foreign health care worker" and also require certification by an entity similar to the CGFNS. As of July 26, 2004, if a nonimmigrant is seeking to be admitted to the United States, is changing status, and/or is requesting an extension of stay, he or she must provide evidence of health care worker certification if the primary purpose for coming to or remaining in the United States is employment in one of the affected health care occupations. Previously, under section 212(d)(3) of the Act, the CIS and the Department of State waived Health Care Worker certification requirements for nonimmigrants, while requiring it for immigrants. After careful consideration of the statute and legislative history, it has been determined that nonimmigrants are also subject to the certification requirements. "

Which Organizations Are Currently Authorized to Issue Health Care Worker Certificates? The following organizations are authorized to issue certificates for the following health care occupations:

Which English Language Testing Organizations Are Approved for Purposes of Health Care Worker Certification?
Every alien must meet certain English language requirements in order to obtain a certificate unless otherwise exempted. The following testing services had been approved:

What are the Acceptable English Language Test Scores for Health Care Worker Certification?

The statute vests the Secretary of Health and Human Services with the sole discretion to determine the minimum scores required for a Health Care Worker Certification.

  • Occupational and physical therapists. An alien seeking to perform labor in the United States as an occupational or physical therapist must obtain the following scores on the English tests:
    ETS: Test Of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL): Paper-Based 560, Computer-Based 220; Test of Written English (TWE): 4.5; Test of Spoken English (TSE): 50.
    Important: The certifying organizations shall not accept the results of the TOEIC, or the IELTS for the occupations of occupational therapy or physical therapy.
  • Registered nurses and other health care workers requiring the attainment of a baccalaureate degree. An alien coming to the United States to perform labor as a registered nurse (other than a nurse presenting a certified statement under section 212(r) of the Act) or to perform labor in another health care occupation requiring a baccalaureate degree (other than occupational or physical therapy) must obtain one of the following combinations of scores to obtain a certificate:
    ETS: TOEFL: Paper-Based 540, Computer-Based 207; TWE: 4.0; TSE: 50;
    TOEIC Service International: TOEIC: 725; plus TWE: 4.0 and TSE: 50; or
    IELTS: 6.5 overall with a spoken band score of 7.0. This would require the Academic module.
  • Occupations requiring less than a baccalaureate degree. An alien coming to the United States to perform labor in a health care occupation that does not require a baccalaureate degree must obtain one of the following combinations of scores to obtain a certificate:

    ETS: TOEFL: Paper-Based 530, Computer-Based 197; TWE: 4.0; TSE: 50;
    TOEIC Service International: TOEIC: 700; plus TWE 4.0 and TSE: 50; or
    IELTS: 6.0 overall with a spoken band score of 7.0. This would allow either the Academic or the General module.

Application for Permanent Residency Under Schedule A

Because "Schedule A" applications do not require the approval of a labor certification, the process for obtaining a green card for qualified nurses or physical therapists can be much quicker than for occupations that do require labor certification.

The Basic Steps

There are three basic stages to complete in order to secure American therapy jobs as a physical therapist. Each includes working with agencies or groups-from FCCPT to FSBPT-to be eligible for our American therapy jobs.

1. Verifying Credentials
2. Obtaining a License
3. Immigration Approval

1. Verifying you Credentials is done by a board approved agency to verify that your education is equivalent to a U.S. granted Physical Therapy degree. Every state has somewaht different requirements for the number of hours in each subject and the breakdown of clinical requirements. Each state also authorizes specific credentialing agencies they work with. Basically they approve the FCCPT or the International Credentialing Associates plus one or more of the following agencies.

FCCT - Foreign Credentialing Commission on PT
P. O. Box 25827
Alexandria, VA 22314
Phone: (703) 684-8562

International Consultants
of Delaware, Inc.
109 Barksdale Professional Center
Newark, DE 19711
Phone: (302) 737-8715

International Credentialing
Associates, Inc.
7245 Bryan Dairy Rd., Park #2
Largo, FL 33777
Phone: (727) 549-8555

International Educational Research
Foundation, Inc.
P. O. Box 3665
Culver City, CA 90231
Phone: (310) 258-9451 Fax: (310) 342-7086

2. Each state has specific requirements which can include English competency tests as well as specific hours from credentialing. You are also required to register with the FSBPT to take the NPTE (National Physical Therapy Examination). Once the candidate's file is completed, including the state including application, fees, English Tests (if required) and other state requirements, the state will contact the FSBPT to obtain permission to take the test. The FSBPT then sends an "Authorization to Test" letter to the candidate. The candidate will then contact testing firm Prometric to schedule an exam date. Currently the FSBPT exam is only given in the U.S. and Guam.

3. Once the candidate has successfully passed the NPTE and has received a licensethe company can file for an H1B visa for the candidate. Physical Therapists are now required to present a visa screen with applications for H1B approval. Currently there are two sources for the Visa Screen for Physical Therapists: FCCPT and CGFNS . The visa screen also compares your education to U.S. education and you are required to pass:

TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language)
TSE (Test of Spoken English)
TWE.(Test of Written English)

FSBPT (The Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy)
You are required to register with the FSBPT to take the NPTE (National Physical Therapy Examination).

VISA Screening Sources

Physical Therapists are now required to present a visa screen with applications for H1B approval. Currently there are two sources for the Visa Screen for Physical Therapists:


English Language Testing Service
For TOEFL, TSE and TWE testing.

PERM and the Physical Therapist

Under the new PERM per regulations, the position of physical therapist is pre-certified. This means that it is not necessary to file a request for a labor certification with the DOL for this occupation. However, the requirement is to submit the labor certification forms, as well as other documentation, with the USCIS in connection with the employer's required I-140 Immigrant Petition for Foreign Worker.

Under PERM, physical therapists must file a letter or statement, signed by an authorized physical therapy licensing official in the state of intended employment, indicating that the foreign national is qualified to take that state's written licensing examination. Additionaly, physical therapists must submit two Forms 9089 (PERM labor certification forms). This filing must include a prevailing wage determination (PWD) by the appropriate State Workforce Agency (SWA) and evidence that a notice of filing the Form 9089 was provided to the bargaining representative or the prospective employer's current employees. Included in the notice is notification that a labor certification has been filed for the position, provide information that any person may submit evidence regarding the application to the DOL, contain a description of the job, and include a rate of pay for the position. The rate of pay included for the position must not be less than the prevailing wage (or actual wage, if higher). Physical therapist applications must be submitted by the sponsoring employer.

What We Can Do For You : We can explain clearly to you what to expect, how long it will take and what we have to prepare to succeed in the case in the fastest time. Our staff will go over every question in the applications with you, prepare the documentation, collect and review the supporting documents, file the case under the name of APSAN LAW OFFICES, prepare the employee and relatives prior to the interview. If the employee is out of the country we will do everything necessary to have the consular interview go smoothly. If the employee is in the United States we will have a lawyer go with him/her to the adjustment interview. If you are living in a state that is far from our offices, in New York and New Jersey, we will do the same, except will offer to either (1) go to the interview without a lawyer (and save over 10% in legal fees) or (2) we will hire a lawyer near your home to go to the interview with the employee.

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    Moses Apsan and his staff, based in New York City and Newark, NJ provide exceptional legal services throughout the world, in all aspects of immigration to the United States, including non-immigrant (temporary visas), immigrant visa (Green Card) and deportation defense. In addition Mr. Apsan, has been practicing Bankruptcy law and Divorce laws for over 35 years, He was the President of the Federal Bar Association, New Jersey Chapter (1997-2002). He speaks Portuguese and Spanish..

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