The Healthcare Workforce Resilience Act gives international physicians and nurses a unique opportunity to increase the likelihood of receiving an employment-based immigrant visa quickly. The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the necessity for the United States to increase the amount of visas given to international physicians and nurses and the Healthcare Workforce Resilience Act provides a creative way to utilize and recapture unused visas from 1992-2020.
Under this act, there would be up to 40,000 employment based immigrant visas given to international physicians and nurses (where 25,000 visas would be reserved for nurses and 15,000 visas would be reserved for physicians). It is important to note that in order for a nurse or physician to qualify for a recaptured visa, they will need to have filed an immigrant work petition “before the date that is 90 days after the President's declaration of a national emergency due to the COVID-19 outbreak.” Another important detail outlined in the Healthcare Workforce Resilience Act is that the allotment of the visas will be ordered not according to a per country numerical limitation, but rather will be issued “in order of the priority date assigned at the time the visa petition was filed.”
The Healthcare Workforce Resilience Act calls for the Secretary of Homeland Security, along with the Secretary of State, to “provide premium processing procedures… for reviewing and acting upon petitions and applications” for the physicians and nurses applying for recaptured visas under this act. The act also details that the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) may not charge a premium fee for the premium processing procedures.
As of May 26, the Healthcare Workforce Resilience Act has “more than 40 cosponsors from both sides of the aisle,” but has not been voted on yet in either the House of Representatives or Senate. The last action taken regarding this Act in the House of Representatives was on May 8 when the Act was referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary, while the last action taken regarding this Act in the Senate was on May 5 when the Act was referred to the Senate Committee on the Judiciary. The House Committee on the Judiciary is scheduled to begin its hearings again starting on Wednesday, June 3 and the Senate Committee on the Judiciary has been scheduling hearings over the last few months.
This article is provided as an educational service and is not legal advice. Consult with an attorney for your specific circumstances. For a comprehensive evaluation of your immigration situation and options, you are invited to call me at 214-494-8033, complete my contact form