FOLLOWING the outbreak of the COVID-19 in the US, which has claimed over 77,000 lives in the country, a new legislation has been introduced in the US congress to offer the 40,000 unused green cards to foreign medical professionals.
The Healthcare Workforce Resilience Act would allow for recapturing green cards that were approved by the Congress but unused in past years. The country is now in need of thousands of healthcare professionals.
In the House of Representatives, the legislation was introduced by lawmakers Abby Finkenauer, Brad Schneider, Tom Cole and Don Bacon. The bipartisan Senate companion bill is led by Senators David Perdue, Dick Durbin, Todd Young and Chris Coons.
“We need all hands on deck to address this generational crisis,” congresswoman Finkenauer said.
“We know this virus will not magically disappear and experts like Dr Anthony Fauci are warning of a second wave this fall. Rural areas, which make up much of my district, remain especially vulnerable and are already experiencing a shortage of medical professionals.”
The new legislation would send green cards to 25,000 nurses and 15,000 doctors during the COVID-19 pandemic and ensure that states like Iowa have the professionals they need to serve patients for the years to come, an official statement said.
Reports said that a large number of Indian nurses and doctors in the US, who are either on H-1B or J2 visas, will be benefited by the move.
A Green Card, known officially as a Permanent Resident Card, is a document issued to immigrants to the US as evidence that the bearer has been granted the privilege of residing permanently.
“Physicians fighting COVID-19 are eager to hear these words: reinforcements are on the way. Recapturing 15,000 unused immigrant visas for physicians through the Healthcare Workforce Resilience Act would ease the burden on frontline physicians, who are risking their lives in understaffed hospitals,” said Patrice A Harris, president of the American Medical Association.
The American Hospital Association (AHA) and the American Organization for Nursing Leadership (AONL) said there has never been a more urgent need for the care that foreign-born physicians and foreign-trained nurses provide than during the current COVID-19 pandemic.