US lawmakers propose bill, 40,000 Covid-19 health workers set to get green cards
They have proposed granting 25,000 of the Green Cards to nurses and the rest 15,000 to physicians, which include both those hired abroad or those already in the United States.Updated: May 10, 2020 03:49 IST
A bipartisan group of US senators have introduced a legislation to grant 40,000 unused Green Cards to foreign nurses and physicians to fight the coronavirus epidemic.
They have proposed granting 25,000 of the Green Cards to nurses and the rest 15,000 to physicians, which include both those hired abroad or those already in the United States.
The US grants around 1 million Green Cards a year, which are subject to a per country-limit of 7%.
Medical professionals from India may stand to benefit as those from other parts of the world. But the queue of applicants from India for employment-based Green Cards is already very long, with waiting periods of more than 100 years at the current rate of disposal of cases, and it could not be ascertained if Indian medial professionals will be able circumvent this queue.
“Consider this: One-sixth of our health care workforce is foreign-born. Immigrant nurses and doctors play a vital role in our healthcare system, and their contributions are now more crucial than ever. Where would we be in this pandemic without them?” said Senator Richard Durbin, the Democratic who cosponsored the legislation, in a statement. “This bipartisan, targeted, and timely legislation will strengthen our health care workforce and improve health care access for Americans in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic.”
“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,” said Senator David Perdue, a Republican, in a statement.
Democrat Chris Coons and Republican Tod Young were the other two senators backing the bill.
The Trump administration has suspended all immigrant visas for 60 days to ensure Americans hit by record layoffs caused by the Covid-19 lockdown get the first shot at remaining jobs or those that become available as businesses reopen. But physicians, nurses and other healthcare professionals were among those exempted from the temporary ban.