CAOT Launches New Project for Internationally Educated Occupational Therapists

Here is interesting news (certainly more appealing than herbal diet supplements) from the Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists (CAOT) for occupational therapists who plan to practice in Canada.

The Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists (CAOT) is pleased to announce the launch of the National Occupational Therapy Examination and Practice Preparation (OTepp) Project – a 27 month initiative in partnership with McMaster University School of Rehabilitation and funded by the Government of Canada’s Foreign Credential Recognition Program.

The focus of the OTepp Program is to assist internationally educated occupational therapists (IEOTs) as they seek to transition into practice in Canada. The project includes a needs assessment process that will assist IEOTs to determine their individual needs.

“The OTepp project will build upon previous work of McMaster University to develop a flexible national curriculum that can be delivered by occupational therapy education programs across Canada.,” says Dr. Claudia von Zweck, Executive Director, CAOT. “Participants will need to achieve an average of 60% on all assignments in order to pass the course upon which successful completion will be recognized by some regulatory bodies towards the completion of currency hours.“

For more information, please contact:

Cheryl Evans
Communications Coordinator
The Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists
613-523-2268 ext. 225

Source: CAOT

New U.S. Visa Bulletin for October 2009

After 6 months of unavailable visa priority dates for EB-3 status for H1-B conversion to permanent residence status, some good news is here. In April 2009, the significant backlog in the processing of permanent residence applications for this category has caused visa priority dates to backslide from May 2005 to March 2003 and visa priority numbers were unavailable since then. On September 9, the U.S. Department of State released the Visa Bulletin for October 2009 with new priority cut-off dates for all immigration categories. This means that greencard numbers numbers are available again. The bad news is the priority dates backslides further back to June 1, 2002 for EB-3 category. For those who are waiting for their priority numbers to become current, check your priority dates and find where you are in the process. It may still be a long wait, but we are all already in line. Let us continue living the good life. God bless us all.

Click here to view the official document released by U.S. Department of State.

Filing the Visa Screen Certificate for Foreign-Trained Occupational Therapists in the United States

This news is for foreign-trained Occupational Therapists in the United States who are working on converting their H1-B visas (work visa) to permanent resident status (greencard).

According to (U.S. Immigration Forms Processing Service for Foreign Nurses and Pharmacists), a company that describes itself as “an in-house immigration administration support specialist”, the Visa Screening program is described as follows:

Visa screening program verifies that the education of an alien healthcare worker seeking job in the United States is equivalent to that of his/her US educated counter part

An overview of visa screen certification:

U.S. immigration law now requires that healthcare professionals (except physicians) qualified outside the United States complete a screening program in order to qualify for certain US working visas. VisaScreen™, also known as Visa Credentials Assessment, enables healthcare workers to meet this requirement by verifying and evaluating their credentials to ensure compliance with the government’s minimum eligibility standards.

VisaScreen™ program is administrated by the International Commission on Healthcare Professions (ICHP), which is a division of CGFNS (Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools). Candidates who successfully complete this program receive a VisaScreen™ Certificate. This certification authenticates that the foreign national’s education, license, training, and experience are comparable to that of a US healthcare professional.

Visa screen certificate can be presented to a consulate office, or in the case of Adjustment of Status, the Attorney General, as part of application process of an occupational visa. The visa screening program normally involves licensure verification, educational credentialing, English language proficiency testing (TOEFL, TSE, TWE), and a predictive exam (CGFNS Certificate).

The healthcare professionals who are required to obtain a VisaScreen™ Certificate before they can get an immigrant visa or permanent residence (“green card”) include occupational therapists, physical therapists, nurses, speech-language pathologists, medical technicians (or clinical laboratory technicians), medical technologists (or clinical laboratory scientists), and physician assistants. With respect to the green card process, the VisaScreen Certificate is not required for an employer to file an I-140 immigrant petition on behalf of a foreign national to sponsor them for lawful permanent residence (i.e. green card). However, once the I-140 immigrant petition is approved, the beneficiary and foreign national must obtain the VisaScreen Certificate before they can be issued an immigrant visa.

Continue reading Filing the Visa Screen Certificate for Foreign-Trained Occupational Therapists in the United States

Memorandum of Understanding from the USCIS

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services issued an important memorandum last May 20, 2009. This update has also been featured on the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) website.


The United States Citizen and Immigration Services (USCIS) has recently been misinterpreting the educational requirements sited in the 2008-09 Occupational Outlook Handbook, published by the U.S. Department of Labor. This language misinterpretation has had a devastating impact on internationally educated occupational therapists who are either applying for or renewing their visas.

The NBCOT has been informed of a newly released Memorandum of Understanding from the USCIS. The memorandum clarifies the educational requirements of individuals seeking visas to perform services in a specialty occupation (such as occupational therapy). The USCIS will approve all occupational therapists provided that the beneficiary holds at least a Bachelor’s degree. Please see the USCIS memorandum of understanding for further detail.

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