US lawmakers have introduced a legislation in Congress to give unused green cards or permanent legal residency status to thousands of foreign nurses and doctors to meet the urgent needs of the overstretched healthcare sector in the country.
The Healthcare Workforce Resilience Act would allow for recapturing green cards that were approved by Congress but unused in past years, allowing thousands of additional medical professionals to serve permanently in the US.
The legislation would send green cards to 25,000 nurses and 15,000 doctors during the Covid-19 pandemic and ensure that places like Iowa have the professionals they need to serve patients for years to come, a media release said.
The move is likely to benefit a large number of Indian nurses and doctors, who are either on H-1B or J2 visas.
In the House of Representatives, it has been 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. Rural areas, which make up much of my district, remain especially vulnerable and are already experiencing a shortage of medical professionals,” she said.