May 5, 2020: HWRA bill calling to recapture 25,000 green cards for global RNs amidst pandemic officially introduced by four US Senators. Receives groundswell of support.
What’s the Healthcare Workforce Resilience Act (HWRA)?
HWRA is a new US bill introduced on April 30, 2020, by a bipartisan (with both democrat and republican party support) group of five US Senators in response to the evidenced shortage of US healthcare workers amidst the coronavirus pandemic. HWRA would authorize the recapture of 25,000 immigrant visas for professional nurses and would allow these visas to be issued in order of the priority date, regardless of per-country limitations.
If the HWRA becomes law, all nurses whose visa applications are currently retrogressed immediately become current. Likewise, any nurse whose I-140 is filed anytime before 90 days after President Trump’s Emergency Declaration on COVID-19 is also expected to have a retrogression-free visa. Further, the legislation requests that USCIS and Embassies and Consulates expedite these petitions.
Support for HWRA is Widespread
American Medical Association: “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. This bipartisan legislation recognizes the physician shortage that existed before the pandemic and is getting more severe while the need for caregivers is growing daily.” – Patrice A. Harris, M.D., President, American Medical Association
Medical Association of Georgia: “The Healthcare Workforce Resilience Act would help to ensure that the nation has enough physicians and nurses to care for patients who become ill during the COVID-19 outbreak. And this legislation is especially important for Georgia when you consider that the state ranks near the bottom, 44th specifically, when it comes to number of primary care physicians per person based on data that was in the 2020 ‘County Health Rankings and Roadmaps’ report.” – Andrew B. Reisman, M.D., President, Medical Association of Georgia
Healthcare Leadership Council: “The COVID-19 pandemic has severely exacerbated what was already a growing strain on America’s healthcare workforce. Senator Perdue and his colleagues are providing a workable solution to this challenge by making productive use of already-existing unused visas to meet physician and nurse shortages. This legislation should be enacted expeditiously to ensure that our patients are getting the care they need when they need it.” – Mary R. Grealy, President of the Healthcare Leadership Council, an alliance of chief executives from all health sectors
U.S. Chamber of Commerce: “The Chamber commends Senators Perdue, Durbin, Young, Coons, Cornyn and Leahy for their unique, bipartisan approach to address this critical workforce need in our nation’s healthcare system. By recapturing previously unused immigrant visas, the Healthcare Workforce Resilience Act would expedite the provision of lawful permanent residency to many foreign national doctors and nurses across the country. At this critical juncture in our nation’s battle against COVID-19, our nation needs these healthcare professionals to focus on the health and well-being of our fellow Americans who are their patients, and this bill will help them in their efforts to fight this disease and save American lives.” – Neil Bradley, Executive Vice President and Chief Policy Officer, U.S. Chamber of Commerce
Niskanen Center: “The Niskanen Center is proud to endorse the Healthcare Workforce Resilience Act: an innovative bipartisan proposal to enhance the U.S. healthcare workforce in the midst of a devastating pandemic. This bill provides a timely yet temporary response to COVID-19 without permanent changes to healthcare or immigration law. It’s a narrow, targeted solution to help fully staff emergency rooms in hospitals around the country. This common sense legislation will bolster our country’s healthcare workforce and fortify our national response to this crisis.” – Kristie De Peña, Vice President For Policy, Niskanen Center
American Association of International Healthcare Recruitment: “Even before the coronavirus outbreak, the United States was projected to suffer a shortfall of 200,000 nurses. Now, with healthcare workers representing as much as 20 percent of all new infections across the country, clinician staffing has become a public health crisis of its own. This is a thoughtful, targeted solution that puts America on a war footing with the coronavirus by ensuring our hospitals have the front line clinicians we need to treat historic levels of critical care patients at hospitals all across the country.” – Shari Costantini, President, American Association of International Healthcare Recruitment
American Hospital Association & American Organization for Nursing Leadership: “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. A targeted allocation of recaptured visas to these health care professionals will have a tremendous impact on the ability to care for patients with COVID-19, and it will have a lasting impact on the overall health of our communities.”
Americans for Prosperity: “Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. healthcare workforce was already being strained, facing critical shortages of healthcare practitioners across the country. Thanks to this bipartisan group of senators, the Healthcare Workforce Resilience Act responds to this crisis by recapturing unused visas from previous years, with expedited visa processing, for 40,000 nurses and physicians. We urge lawmakers from both chambers to advance the Healthcare Workforce Resilience Act and enact it into law.” – Tim Phillips, President, Americans for Prosperity
Bipartisan Policy Center: “BPC Action applauds the work of Senators Perdue, Durbin, Coons, Young, Cornyn and Leahy, whose legislation, the Healthcare Workforce Resilience Act, seeks to expand the healthcare workforce by recapturing previously unused visas to allow the entry of nurses and physicians into the U.S. These unprecedented times demand swift and responsive actions by Congress to address the labor shortages currently facing the healthcare sector – the Healthcare Workforce Resilience Act seeks to address that challenge, and we support its passage.”
American Immigration Lawyers Association: “AILA welcomes this bipartisan legislation introduced by Senators Perdue, Durbin, Young, Coons, Cornyn and Leahy; the bill would help address the critical healthcare shortage in the United States, a weakness that has been evident during the COVID-19 national emergency. The Healthcare Workforce Resilience Act would be a huge step toward ensuring that our nation’s health care needs are met by qualified physicians and nurses in a timely manner, benefiting all of us.”
Physicians for American Healthcare Access (PAHA): “Physicians for American Healthcare Access (PAHA) welcomes, appreciates and applauds Senators Durbin, Coons, Perdue, Young, Cornyn and Leahy’s bipartisan initiative to address the nation’s physician and nurse workforce in the COVID-19 crisis. The bill identifies an untapped resource in the immigrant physicians who are trained in the U.S., and are experienced on the frontlines. This is a long overdue first step to streamline physician immigration to stabilize and improve health care access in America.”
FWD.us: “Ensuring that doctors and nurses can have their permanent residency expedited through our immigration system is a smart bipartisan approach that will help save countless lives in the midst of this public health emergency. We commend Senators Perdue, Durbin, Young, Coons, Cornyn and Leahy for working across party lines on this vital legislation. Immigrants and immigration are essential not only to our nation’s ability to respond to this urgent health crisis, but to rebuild our economy and create jobs out of this economic crisis.” – Todd Schulte, President, FWD.us
National Immigration Forum: “The Healthcare Workforce Resilience Act recognizes the value of immigrants and immigration to the nation by letting in more immigrant doctors and nurses and their families. This bill addresses a workforce need and honors family unity. Particularly at this time, addressing shortages in the health care workforce is imperative. By ensuring unused visas do not go to waste, the bill will help doctors and nurses and their families, who have been waiting in line, immigrate sooner.”
Take Action Now
Show your support on social media by retweeting Senator Perdue’s tweet:
Just introduced the Healthcare Workforce Resilience Act to address our nation’s shortage of doctors and nurses. pic.twitter.com/8DBjilsxFD
— David Perdue (@sendavidperdue) May 5, 2020
Get Yourself Ready
- If you’re an experienced nurse with a US VISA PRIORITY DATE: If you’ve been abandoned by your original EB-3 visa sponsor, PassportUSA would like to speak with you on the process to recapture your original priority date.
- If you’re an experienced nurse with NCLEX and an ACTIVE or EXPIRED IELTS: Connect with us and we’ll walk you through all the steps in the process towards an employment-based US visa.
- If you have NCLEX, but have never taken IELTS: Get studying to pass IELTS or retake it right away. We have several resources on our website that can help, and once you’ve passed, we are here to be your US visa sponsor.
PassportUSA is the leading provider of internationally-trained RNs to U.S. healthcare institutions. We have placed several hundred candidates at leading healthcare facilities across the USA. Client healthcare institutions can trust in our service and quality of candidates. Healthcare professionals will enjoy our high ethics and track record of successful U.S. placement.