A group of senators have introduced a new legislation in the US Congress to grant 40,000 unused green card slots to foreign health care workers like nurses and doctors to meet the urgent need of fighting the COVID-19 pandemic in their country.
The Healthcare Workforce Resilience Act, if passed, would allow for recapturing green cards that were approved by Congress but unused in past years, making those eligible, serve permanently in the US.
The bill, if passed, will give green cards, known officially as a Permanent Resident Card, to 25,000 professional nurses and 15,000 physicians 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.
It also proposes allowing these permanent residencies to be issued in priority order, without per-country considerations and to immediate family members of these individuals.
The bill does not propose increasing the number of green cards being issued but recapturing those green cards that failed to be issued in previous years.
A Forbes report quoted Senator Richard J. Durbin of Illinois introducing the bill as, "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? 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."