Wednesday, August 22, 2007

New Immigration Service Outrage: Checkups and Vaccines

Welcome to my first blog. And good timing it is, because just today I found out about a new immigration service scam. Maybe it's not a scam -- but someone is making some money out of it. And it's definitely an annoyance.

The offending policy? Mandatory health check ups for green card applicants. A good friend depends on her H1-B visa to maintain continued employment at a US university, and also has a green card application pending. Her lawyer ($2700 fee for H1-B extension, green card fee for three steps, about $6700) informed her that it's time to get the mandatory health check up for the green card application. (Green card application pending: since Dec. 2004!).

For the third step of the green card process, change of status (isn't this fun!), my friend now has to get a health check up -- from a government certified doctor! The list of government approved physicians is available on the USCIS web.

The cost for the check up? A survey on the phone indicates the normal fee is from $150 to $200. The doctor she picked asked her to bring $180 cash, with appointment available on the same day. She headed downtown, and in the office, found out that the $180 did not include lab fees, another $65.

The poor friend had to get 1 shot, 1 skin test and 1 test.

One more visit required, at no extra fee (she hopes).

Thank god the US government and the medical profession are keeping America safe!

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