A bipartisan Senate bill, set for introduction when the chamber returns, would make it easier for doctors and nurses to obtain green cards.
The Healthcare Workforce Resilience Act, introduced by Sens. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and David Perdue (R-Ga.), would allocate 40,000 unused, previously authorized immigrant visas to doctor and nurses who can work to treat coronavirus patients without increasing immigration numbers.
“The growing shortage of doctors and nurses over the past decade has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 crisis,” Perdue said in a statement. “Fortunately, there are thousands of trained health professionals who want to practice in the United States. This proposal would simply reallocate a limited number of unused visas from prior years for doctors and nurses who are qualified to help in our fight against COVID-19. This shortage is critical and needs immediate attention so that our healthcare facilities are not overwhelmed in this crisis.”
“Consider this: one-sixth of our health care workforce is foreign-born. Immigrant nurses and doctors play a vital role in our health care system, and their contributions are now more crucial than ever. Where would we be in this pandemic without them? It is unacceptable that thousands of doctors currently working in the U.S. on temporary visas are stuck in the green card backlog, putting their futures in jeopardy and limiting their ability to contribute to the fight against COVID-19,” Durbin added.
Sens. Todd Young (R-Ind.) and Christopher Coons (D-Del.) also co-introduced the measure. The filing period for the recaptured visas would be limited to 90 days after the end of President Trump’s emergency declaration due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“Our bill strengthens our health care workforce & improves access to care for Americans,” Durbin said in a statement Monday. “I encourage my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to join me & @sendavidperdue in support of these vital health care workers.” (Source: thehill.com)