The United States medical system is dependent on hundreds of thousands of foreign healthcare workers – doctors, nurses, medical technicians, paramedics, medical assistants and more. According to the 2018 American Community Survey (ACS), 15% of all American healthcare workers are immigrants. In Illinois and other states, immigrant health care workers are on the frontline as essential workers in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
During the COVID crisis, immigrant health care workers are making significant contributions to the health and well-being of Americans. One in 5 practicing physicians in the United States is an immigrant, and many of those are in the U.S. as temporary workers on H-1B 3-year visas. It is a common misconception that temporary 3-year H-1B visas are for tech workers: they are also for skilled, trained health care workers such as doctors and nurses. If a health care worker becomes ill and cannot work for several weeks or months, they are at risk for not only losing their job: they can also lose their temporary visa and be subject to deportation.
Chicago immigration attorney Mario Godoy explained,
“Foreign health care workers who are in the United States legally are putting their lives on the line in the fight against COVID – and if they become ill, their reward could be deportation! It’s important that our immigration policies protect the people who are protecting us! The green card visa process should recognize the life-saving services our immigrant health care workers provide.”
The proposed Healthcare Workforce Resilience Act would allow 40,000 more immigrant doctors and nurses to gain green cards and work permits and join the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. The bi-partisan sponsors of the bill, including U.S. Democratic Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois, recommend that all states change their National Interest Waiver policies to support the green card application of any physician who has worked for an underserved community for five years. Currently, the policies vary state by state, which means many qualified physicians cannot get their U.S. work experience counted toward their green card application.
Approximately 28% of all surgeons and physicians in the United States are immigrants, and 16.3% of all nurses, according to the ACS. The percent of immigrant health care workers in Illinois is:
• Health Care Workers 17.73%
• Physicians 32.2%
• Nurses 14.98%
Godoy Law Firm’s experienced business immigration attorneys can help with green cards for health care professionals and employers, including hospitals, nursing homes, physicians, registered nurses, physical therapists, medical technologists, occupational therapists, nursing assistants.
Contact Godoy Law Office today at 855-554-6369 to answer foreign nurses and doctor’s questions about immigration, help you file an immigration application and guide you through every step of the immigration process.