Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senators Susan Collins (R-ME), Dick Durbin (D-IL), John Cornyn (R-TX), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Todd Young (R-IN), and Chris Coons (D-DE) introduced bipartisan legislation to provide a temporary stopgap to quickly address our nation’s shortage of doctors and nurses. The Healthcare Workforce Resilience Act would recapture 25,000 unused immigrant visas for nurses and 15,000 unused immigrant visas for doctors that Congress has previously authorized and allocate those visas to doctors and nurses to help in the fight against COVID-19.
“COVID-19 has exacerbated the shortage of doctors and nurses our nation was already facing. As we continue to respond to this persistent pandemic, it is vital that we take steps to alleviate the burden on our health care system and support medical professionals,” said Senator Collins. “By issuing unused employment-based visas to immigrant medical professionals, this bipartisan legislation would help strengthen our health care workforce and preserve access to care, particularly in rural and underserved communities in Maine and across our country.”
Specifically, the Healthcare Workforce Resilience Act would:
· Recapture unused visas from previous fiscal years for doctors, nurses, and their families
· Exempt these visas from country caps
· Require employers to attest that immigrants from overseas who receive these visas will not displace an American worker
· Require the Department of Homeland Security and State Department to expedite the processing of recaptured visas
· Limit the filing period for recaptured visas to 90 days following the termination of the President’s COVID-19 emergency declaration
The Healthcare Workforce Resilience Act is supported by dozens of organizations including the American Academy of Family Physicians, American Academy of Neurology, American Association of International Healthcare Recruitment, American College of Rheumatology, American Geriatrics Society, American Hospital Association, American Organization for Nursing Leadership, American Society of Hematology, Physicians for American Healthcare Access, American Academy of Pediatrics, National Rural Health Association, American Medical Association, Society of Hospital Medicine, Federation of American Hospitals, American College of Physicians, Ascension Catholic Health Association of the U.S., Healthcare Leadership Council, National Kidney Foundation, Society of Critical Care Medicine, American Immigration Lawyers Association, FWD.us, National Immigration Forum, Bipartisan Policy Center, American Business Immigration Coalition, and The Jewish Federations of North America.
Click here to read the text of the bill.