H-1B Visa for Physical Therapists

Degree and license requirementsH-1B Visa for Physical Therapists

Foreign national Physical Therapists must meet the 4 USCIS Healthcare Worker requirements, listed below.

  1. The Physical Therapist must possess at least a Bachelor Degree or foreign equivalent in Physical Therapy or a closely related field.
  2. The Physical Therapist must have their educational credentials verified through FCCPT.
  3. The Physical Therapist must obtain a Visa Screen Certificate (Type I Certificate) through FCCPT.
  4. The Physical Therapist must obtain a State PT License (Temporary or Permanent) or a letter of eligibility to obtain a State License once the H-1B visa is approved.

FCCPT – FOREIGN CREDENTIALING COMMISSION ON PHYSICAL THERAPY – FCCPT is the source Visa Screen Certificate (Type I Certificate) for Physical Therapists.

Foreign national Physical Therapists must submit the Comprehensive Credential Evaluation Review (Type I Certificate) – This service is designed for the individual who needs a Health Care Worker Certificate to obtain USCIS clearance, which will permit employment as a physical therapist in the U.S. This service includes an educational credentials review, which can be used to obtain a license to practice physical therapy in the U.S.

Prevailing wage requirements

The Petitioner (employer) is required to pay the beneficiary at least the prevailing wage.

The prevailing wage can be found at the Foreign Labor Certification Data Center.

The prevailing wage level is based on the employer’s requirements for the position.

Here is a guide on what prevailing wage to expect:

  • Bachelor Degree and 0-1 years of experience required should result in a Level 1 prevailing wage.
  • Bachelor Degree and 2 years of experience should result in a Level 2 prevailing wage.
  • Master Degree and no experience required should result in a Level 2 prevailing wage.
  • Bachelor Degree and 3 years of experience should result in a Level 3 prevailing wage.
  • Bachelor Degree and 4+ years of experience should result in a Level 4 prevailing wage.

In house Work Location

If the Physical Therapist will be physically working solely at the employer’s place of business the employer may be asked to provide copies of the company’s 3 most recent Federal Income Tax Returns. This is to provide evidence to USCIS they that are operating at a level consistent with the need for an additional Physical Therapist.

3rd party client work location

If the Physical Therapist will be physically working at a 3rd party client site the employer may be asked to provide copies of contracts with the client company.

This includes the Master Services Agreement, the Statement of Work (SOW) or Purchase Order (PO) and in some cases the end client letter. In addition the petition letter must address the employer’s control of the employee’s work as outlined in the Neufeld Memo.

Patient home work location

In July 2008 the US DOL released Fact Sheet #62J. It states that when a physical therapist provides services to patients in their homes within a geographic area of employment then a new LCA is NOT required.

Each of the following conditions must be met if the employer chooses to use an existing LCA (i.e., one that applies to a different geographic area):

The H-1B worker’s presence at the different location is casual and on a short-term basis (i.e., any single visit does not exceed five (5) consecutive workdays for any worker who travels frequently or ten (10) workdays for any worker who travels occasionally

The H-1B worker is not at the location as a “strikebreaker”; and

The nature and duration of the H-1B worker’s job function (rather than the nature of the employer’s business) mandates his/her short-time presence at a different location. For example, in the following situation, an employer could choose to rely on an existing LCA:

A physical therapist provides services to patients in their homes within a geographic area of employment.

As with in house employment, the employer may be asked to provide copies of the company’s 3 most recent Federal Income Tax Returns. This is to provide evidence to USCIS they that are operating at a level consistent with the need for an additional Physical Therapist.

FY 2017 New H-1B Filing

Employers wishing to file a new H-1B petition for a Physical Therapist should start the preparing the petition 3-6 months prior the April 1st H-1B Filing date. USCIS will normally hold a random lottery the first week in April to determine which petitions will be accepted and proceed to adjudication. The regular H-1B quota is 65,000. There is an additional quota of 20,000 for US Master Degree Holders. The petitions that are accepted in the random lottery usually take 3-5 months for adjudication, although premium processing is available. The Physical Therapist would normally start work October 1st.

Transferring the H-1B Visa to a different employer

Employers wishing to hire a Physical Therapist who is currently working for another employer in H-1B status may file an H-1B Transfer petition with USCIS. One major benefit of H-1B transfer petitions is that the Physical Therapist can start work as early as the day that USCIS receives the H-1B Transfer petition.

Renewing or Extending the H-1B Visa

Employers who currently employ a Physical Therapist in H-1B Visa status may file a petition with USCIS to extend that worker’s H-1B status. H-1B status normally lasts for 6 years, although can be extended beyond 6 years in certain cases if the green card (permanent residence) process has begun.

Filing an Amended H-1B Petition for a Change in the Work Location

USCIS recently announced a change to the amended H-1B filing process. The change primarily affects 3rd party client work locations.

The Simeio Solutions Decision essentially states that an employer must file an amended H-1B petition if their H-1B employee changed or is going to change his or her place of employment to a worksite location outside of the metropolitan statistical area (MSA) or an “area of intended employment” (as defined at 20 CFR 655.715) covered by the existing approved H-1B petition, even if a new LCA is already certified and posted at the new location.

If the H-1B employee is moving to a new job location within the same MSA or area of intended employment a new LCA is not required.

Green Card petition for Physical Therapists

Physical Therapist benefit from being in Schedule A, group 1, which means that they have a fast track green card process. This is because they can avoid the lengthy PERM Labor Certification process.

Another benefit is that Physical Therapists can apply in the EB-2 category which offers an overall faster processing time.

EB-2 means that the employer’s requirements for the position are either a Master’s Degree, or a Bachelor’s degree and 5 years of progressive work experience.

Related Links:
H1B Visa Cap / Quota for FY 2018
H-1B Visa Overview
H-1B Visa Renewal / Extension
H-1B Visa Transfer
Amended H-1B Visa
New H-1B Visa, Cap Exempt
H-1B Visa for Entrepreneurs
H-1B Visa for Teachers
H-1B Visa Attorney Fee
H-1B Visa Complete Do it Yourself Kit

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