Michelle Cruz: How a Master’s Degree Helped with her Green Card

June 1, 2016

Registered Nurse Michelle Cruz is another RN Express alumna. Like most nurses who passed through RNE’s offices, she dropped in on a hopeful chance, found her next job, and saw a pathway to her future. 


Michelle, 30, is currently an ER nurse at NYU Lutheran Medical Center in Brooklyn. Previously, she worked in three nursing homes courtesy of RNE, and continues to work for them per diem. Through RNE, Michelle was able to secure her green card that enabled her to work independently over time. 


"RNE is there to help you succeed," she said.

"Their goal is not just for you to get a job but for you to get to the top." She learned of RNE through a friend, who urged her to try her luck. 


“I took a chance and went to their office, walk-in lang,” she said. “I was pretty  desperate. I was with this other agency for three years and was itching to get out of their contract. Then I heard about this Filipino company.”


She met office manager Alex Alejandrino who was pleased to learn that she has a master’s degree in Nursing. The company processed her papers right away. In 2015 – after waiting for only one year -- she got her green card under an employment-based second preference EB-2 Visa. 



"RNE is there to help you succeed"



According to USCIS, one may be eligible for an employment-based, second preference visa “if you are a member of the professions holding an advanced degree or its equivalent, or a foreign national who has exceptional ability.” Michelle earned her master’s degree online from Southwestern University in Cebu, although she was already a New York resident.


"Their goal is not just for you to get a job, but for you to get to the top"



“That’s the beauty of having a master’s degree. There’s no waiting time for green cards,” she said.  “It’s for highly skilled professionals.”


Through RNE, she found three nursing homes where she worked over a period of three years. 


“The three owners (of RNE)  are very understanding, given that they’re also nurses. They know where (the nurses) are coming from. They listen,” said Michelle.


She said the RNE officers and executives – Sally Nunez, Lea Batomalaque, and Florida Lucas – would always call if she had problems on the job and ask if she wanted to transfer to another facility. “They’re always there to support you.”


Michelle, a nursing graduate at St. Paul College in Quezon City, lives in Queens with her family. Her parents work as private caregivers; she has two siblings.