On July 1, 2013, the Foreign Healthcare Professionals Group and its principals were convicted of 89 counts of mail fraud, visa fraud, human trafficking, and money laundering by a federal jury in Denver, Colorado. The convictions arose out of a scheme by which the defendants made false representations to the United States in connection with H-1B petitions, visa applications, and related documents that the FNs they sponsored were coming to the United States to work as nursing supervisors or instructors. In fact, many of the sponsored FNs did not have prearranged employment while others were coming to work as staff nurses at nursing homes and long-term care facilities and, thus, were not eligible for the H-1B classification. Sentencing is scheduled for September 23, 2013.
The convictions in this case serve as a useful reminder that most staff nursing positions are not eligible for the H-1B professional classification. This is because the H-1B classification only applies to positions that require a specialized bachelor’s degree as the minimum entry-level requirement. In most cases, staff nursing positions require a two-year associates nursing degree. Deceptive practices of unscrupulous staffing companies in this area can be expensive and disruptive. This prosecution serves as another warning about continued fraud in this area.