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A bill has been introduced recently by a bipartisan group of senators, one that could have some amazing benefits for nurses and doctors. Since there are so many exceptional doctors from different countries, it’s essential to have ways of offering them multiple benefits, particularly if they want to come to the United States. So, what is this bill called, and how does it work?
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The Healthcare Workforce Resilience Act (HWRA) is a bill introduced by senators Todd Young (R-IN), David Perdue (R-GA), Chris Coons (D-DE), and Dick Durbin (D-IL). The purpose of the bill is to increase the number of available spots for nurses and doctors, in order to help deal with the COVID-19 pandemic much easier.
Basically, the bill is supposed to offer up to 25,000 immigrant visas to qualifying nurses, whereas for physicians, there will be 15,000 immigrant visas offered. The visa numbers will be taken from the numbers that were not used between the 1992 and 2020 fiscal years.
What’s even better is that if you are a nurse or physician getting a visa under this bill, your spouse and/or children will have the opportunity to come to the U.S. as well. As long as your children are below 21 years old, there isn’t any problem. Also, the family members will not be counted against the limit of 40,000.
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is the one having to deal with these applications, as it has to expedite their processing. Not to mention that the beneficiaries will be exempted from the usual per-country cap, which is quite unusual. Therefore, even countries with huge backlogs, such as China or India, would be able to send their nurses and physicians to the U.S. for green cards.
What’s even better is that taking these numbers from the backlog in order to offer visas to nurses and physicians will not have any bad effect on the backlog. To be more specific, it will not increase the backlog even more, which makes it beneficial for those waiting for green cards as well. And most likely, some of the nurses and physicians that are getting their visa through the HWRA would have tried to get a visa by waiting in the backlog at the normal pool.
People who are nurses or doctors and have an approved I-140 will have the chance to claim a recaptured visa during the entire COVID-19 pandemic. Therefore, it has to be during this period of challenges that medical professionals from other countries have to claim their visas. In case the national emergency will be ended by the President, there will still be 90 days from that date to claim their recaptured visa.
Under the HWRA, nurses, and doctors who have approved I-140’s will have the opportunity to get their hands on one of these green cards and come to the U.S.
Of course, there are other requirements that the person must meet before they are granted one of these green cards. Medical professionals will still need to make sure they meet all licensing requirements. At the same time, they must have a clean criminal background and go through a national security check. They must also pay all the required filing fees.
In addition, if you’re an employer of a medical professional, you will be asked to attest to the fact that the green card belonging to the professional will not displace the workers from the U.S.
As mentioned previously, the number of recapture visas will be taken from the number of people waiting in the backlog. Basically, those who have gotten their authorization for their employment-based visas in the past would be able to get their hands on a recaptured visa. The date will be considered when issuing these visas, and they will be offered in order of the priority date.
The visas will not be subject to the country caps. In order to get help from nurses and physicians soon enough, premium processing will be available for all qualifying applications and petitions. Therefore, all doctors and nurses that qualify will have the chance to obtain their green cards as soon as possible.
The Department of Homeland Security and the Department of State will make visa appointments for nurses and doctors a priority. In the end, they will be able to enter the United States and start working to take care of people during these harsh times in terms of health care.
It is still unsure how the Healthcare Workforce Resilience Act is going to end up. More specifically, it’s unsure whether it is going to pass or not. At this point, it is nothing but a proposal. Even if there are many bipartisan supporting the HWRA bill, it’s best to not rely on it unless we have the certainty that it will indeed pass and bring amazing doctors and nurses to the States.
Before it passes, there are multiple legislative hurdles to clear, so it will take a while before it actually happens. Moreover, so far, there is no indication that the President is supporting the bill, as nothing has come from the White House in regard to the HWRA.
All we can see is that the need for healthcare workers is growing, all due to the pandemic, and that lawmakers will take this into account and prioritize passing this bill. Until and unless it is actually passed into law, the bill will not have any actual impact, which means that no doctors or nurses will obtain green cards to come to the U.S. in the next period.
Before it gets approved, the HWRA will have to go through a series of approvals. In order to go through final amendments by the U.S. Senate, it is going to take a few months. Once the Senate will pass the bill, it will be moved to the House of Representatives. There, it will have to go through a majority vote in order to pass further.
As such, if both houses of Congress will pass the bill, then the next place for it will be the President’s desk. It is possible that this bill will be part of a larger piece of legislation, which is meant to bring relief to Americans during the COVID-19 crisis that everyone is dealing with. Keep your eyes on the news and you will find out what happens to the bill in the future.
The Healthcare Workforce Resilience Act would be a great way for nurses and doctors from other countries to show what they’re made of and prove their worth. They will finally start their career in the United States and, more than that, help those unfortunate enough to be victims of the COVID-19 pandemic. The healthcare system is facing a huge challenge right now because of the virus, and doctors are needed more than ever. If you’re waiting in the backlog, you may have the chance to get your visa too.