In Doctors & Nurses (J Visas & Waivers), US Permanent Residence (Green Card)

A group of bipartisan Senators have joined forces to introduce a new bill that will take unused green cards and give them to foreign healthcare professionals in need. The bill is called The Healthcare Workforce Resilience Act and it was introduced on May 5, 2020. The purpose is to recapture 40,000 unused green cards that Congress had previously authorized and allocate them to nurses (25,000) and doctors (15,000) who need them the most, especially at a time like this to help fight against COVID-19.

This new bill would target the shortage of healthcare providers in the US. Even before the start of the Coronavirus pandemic there was a shortage of nurses and doctors, with currently over 100,000 nurses abroad waiting to immigrate to the US, but can’t because wait times for them to get a green card exceed 3 years. In terms of COVID-19, Senator David Perdue (R-GA) states, “The growing shortage of doctors and nurses over the past decade has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 crisis.” “Fortunately, there are thousands of trained health professionals who want to practice in the United States. 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. This shortage is critical and needs immediate attention so that our healthcare facilities are not overwhelmed in this crisis.”

“Consider this: one-sixth of our health care workforce is foreign-born. Immigrant nurses and doctors play a vital role in our health care system, and their contributions are now more crucial than ever. Where would we be in this pandemic without them? It is unacceptable that thousands of doctors currently working in the U.S. on temporary visas are stuck in the green card backlog, putting their futures in jeopardy and limiting their ability to contribute to the fight against COVID-19,” said Senator Dick Durbin (D-Il).

Here’s what the new bill would do:

  • Recapture unused green cards from previous years to allocate to doctors, nurses and their families;
  • Speed up the process for foreign-born healthcare workers to become lawful permanent residents;
  • Exempt these visas from per-country caps;
  • Require employers to attest that immigrants from overseas who receive these visas will not displace American workers;
  • Require DHS and the State Department to expedite the processing of recaptured visas; and
  • Limit the filing period for recaptured visas to 90 days following the termination of Trump’s COVID-19 emergency declaration.

US health care providers who wish to sponsor foreign doctors and nurses should be aware of the 90-day deadline and act as soon as possible.

Please visit: to get further details on everything the new legislation will entail.