S.3599: The Healthcare Workforce Resilience Act

S.3599: The Healthcare Wo…

What is the Healthcare Workforce Resilience Act?

The Healthcare Workforce Resilience Act, or S.3599, is a bipartisan bill introduced on May 5, 2020, by Senators Purdue (R-GA), Young (R-IN), Cornyn (R-TX), Durbin (D-IL), Coons (D-DE), and Leahy (D-VT). This Act seeks to enhance the healthcare workforce during the COVID-19 pandemic by recapturing 40,000 unused immigrant visas for 15,000 doctors and 25,000 nurses. It aims to address the shortage of doctors and nurses in the country that is making it difficult to effectively respond to the crisis.

According to Senator Perdue, "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." Senator Durbin elaborates on the importance of this bill, acknowledging that "Immigrant nurses and doctors play a vital role in our health care system, and their contributions are now more crucial than ever...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." The senators who contributed to this bill and others are hopeful that this legislation will address the urgent need for doctors and nurses in this country to fight COVID-19.

What Specifically is in the Senators' Proposal?

The proposal:

  • Recaptures unused visas from previous fiscal years for doctors, nurses, and their families
  • Exempts these visas from country caps
  • Requires employers to attest that immigrants from overseas who receive these visas will not displace an American worker
  • Requires the Department of Homeland Security and State Department to expedite the processing of recaptured visas
  • Limites the filing period for recaptured visas to 90 days following the termination of the President's COVID-19 emergency declaration

For More Information:

Read the text of the bill here.

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This information comes from a news release from the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA Doc. No. 20043032).