On November 12, 1999, former President Bill Clinton signed into law the Nursing Relief for Disadvantaged Areas Act of 1999 (NRDAA), Public Law 106-95. The NRDAA created a new H-1C nonimmigrant category for registered nurses who will work in facilities that serve health professional shortage areas.
The H-1A program was created by the Immigration Nursing Relief Act of 1989 (INRA). While the NRDAA adopts, almost verbatim, many of the provisions of the INRA, there are some differences between the two programs. The NRDAA imposes more restrictions on the types of facilities that may petition for a nonimmigrant registered nurse and requires that these facilities make a greater number of attestations to the Department of Labor (DOL) than did the INRA. Whereas the INRA allowed for an unlimited number of H-1A nonimmigrant visas to be issued, the NRDAA places a state-by-state numerical cap on the number of H-1C nonimmigrant visas that may be issued. Also, unlike the INRA, the NRDAA does not recognize nursing education received in Canada. For the most part, however, the INRA and the NRDAA are identical and, therefore, much of the regulatory language from the H-1A program has been used for the H-1C program.