International Medical Graduates Should Apply for Step 2 CS as Soon as Possible - Eligibility Requirements Have Changed
January 20, 2005:
Demand for Step 2 CS is expected to be heavy this year. International Medical Graduates (IMGs) who need to pass Step 2 CS for the 2006 Match (held in March 2006) should apply and schedule their testing appointments as soon as possible.
A recent change to the eligibility requirements for taking Step 2 CS allows medical school students to apply for Step 2 CS after completing at least two years of medical school. This eligibility requirement means that students must have completed the basic medical science component of the medical school curriculum. Before this change, students were required to be within 12 months of completing the medical school curriculum before applying for Step 2 CS.
A second change has eliminated the ex
amination prerequisite for Step 2 CS. This means that applicants for Step 2 CS are no longer required to have passed Step 1.
If you are a medical school student and need to pass Step 2 CS to participate in the 2006 Match, you are strongly encouraged to apply as soon as you are eligible and to schedule your testing appointment for the earliest possible date. Medical school graduates can apply for Step 2 CS at any time (provided they meet all other eligibility requirements). In deciding when to apply, applicants should also consider ECFMG's recommendations to Step 2 CS applicants, which are described in Eligibility for Examination in the ECFMG Information Booklet.
Special Notice for Canadian Nurses
Jointly Prepared by The Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools (CGFNS) & The National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN)
- January 20, 2005: Philadelphia, PA
The final rule implementing Section 343 of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act (IIRIRA) of 1996 became effective on September 23, 2003. This rule requires that Canadian nurses entering the
to work under Trade NAFTA or applying for a temporary or permanent occupational visa must obtain a VisaScreen Certificate. To date, CGFNS is the only recognized entity to provide such services by the United States federal government. The final rule allowed for a transition period during which the Canadian nurse must obtain the VisaScreen. That transition period ended on July 25, 2004. However, the Department of Homeland Security has provided an extension of that deadline for health professionals working under Trade NAFTA who were employed and licensed in the U.S. prior to September 23, 2003. The new deadline for healthcare professionals who qualify is July 26, 2005. U.S.
Here are the VisaScreen requirements applicable to foreign nurses:
If licensed by ex
amination in a U.S.state or territory then general nursing school transcripts and valid and unencumbered foreign and licenses must be submitted by the foreign institution to CGFNS. Passing scores in oral and written English exams (administered by ETS or IELTS) must also be submitted, unless the general nursing education was obtained in a professional school located in Australia, Canada (except Quebec), Ireland, New Zealand, Trinidad, Tobago (in limited circumstances), the United Kingdom, or the United States. U.S.
If licensed by endorsement in a U.S. state or territory without passage of the NCLEX, ex
amination, then the temporary foreign nurse must also (in addition to the above requirements) pass either the NCLEX or the CGFNS Qualifying Exam.
The National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) will grant qualified candidates eligibility to take the NCLEX ex
amination to help satisfy the VisaScreen requirements, through September 30, 2005. If currently licensed by a state or territorial board of nursing, candidates may choose to apply to either NCSBN at http://www.ncsbn.org/testing/nclexforvisascreen.asp or to one of the following boards of nursing: Arkansas, Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, North Carolina, New Hampshire, or the Virgin Islands. For more information on registering with a state board of nursing to take the NCLEX ex amination, contact any of the above states through the link: http://www.ncsbn.org/regulation/boardsofnursing_boards_of_nursing_board.asp .
It should be noted that this is for immigration purposes only, and applicants seeking a state or territorial license should contact the board of nursing in the state they intend to work in for the specifics of what they need to obtain a state or territorial license.
A VisaScreen Certificate is issued after a complete evaluation of the nurse's credentials to verify that he or she meets the minimum federal requirements. The International Commission on Healthcare Professions (ICHP), a division of CGFNS, administers this screening process.
The Role of the
National Visa Center
When an employer files an immigrant visa for a person outside the
U.S.or an individual files for a f amily member currently outside the , the National Visa Center (NVC) becomes involved in the processing. The NVC processes all approved immigrant visa petitions and it retains the cases that are not yet ready for consular processing because of retrogression of visa numbers. With the most recent information available indicating that visa availability for employment based categories has regressed to January 2002 for applicants from US China, Indiaand , most people will now become more involved with the NVC. The NVC forwards the petitions to the appropriate U.S. Consulate when a visa number is likely to become available within the current year. This means that under the current situation, NVC may hold a case for several years before forwarding it to the Consulate. Philippines
Visit the NVC web site at the conclusion of our newsletter to obtain more information about what they do.
Interactive Study Guide for the CGFNS Qualifying Exam
CGFNS has an interactive study guide pilot program available on their web site at www.cgfns.org to assess the interest in the creation of an interactive study guide for the CGFNS Qualifying Exam.
The pilot program consists of ten sample questions with interactive explanations for correct and incorrect answers, as well as interactive hints and rationales.
The pilot program also tests listening comprehension, through the use of four audio recordings, and asks four vocabulary questions and two English structure questions. An additional English language section consisting of four questions on slang and medical idioms completes the pilot program. A survey allowing applicants to comment on the usefulness of the pilot program as a model for developing a more comprehensive interactive study guide is also included at the end of the program.
The interactive study guide pilot program will be live on the CGFNS website for approximately three months. Please see the 'Resources' section of this newsletter.
American Immigration Law Association Conference
The Attorneys attended an all day immigration law conference last month, which focused on the changes in employment-based immigration such as the cap on H-1B visas and the new strategies for labor certification applications in light of the new
regulations and the retrogression of the employment based visa categories. PERM
Please contact John Wilson at 603-228-1277 to discuss how we can assist you in finding and keeping good employees in light of these changes.
Detailed information on the eligibility of International Medical Students and Graduates to take Step 2 CS is available in the ECFMG Information Booklet at http://www.ecfmg.org/index.html .
To visit the
web site, please see the following link: National Visa Center's
To try the Interactive Study Guide for the CGFNS Qualifying Exam, please visit: www.cgfns.org then under the ‘Information’ column please select “Applicants: We need your input. Try the pilot program for the interactive study guide.”
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