Last Updated on November 7, 2023
The Senate has reintroduced a bipartisan bill called the Healthcare Workforce Resilience (HWRA) Act that will allow up to 40,000 nurses and physicians to receive unused visas to live and work in the U.S.
HWRA was originally introduced in 2021 by Sen. Durbin (D-IL). It was sponsored by Sens. Chris Coons (D-DE), Todd Young (R-IL) and former Sen. David Perdue (R-GA). The bill has been reintroduced, again by Sen. Durbin, along with Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-ND). As with 2021, the bill has bipartisan support. A companion bill was also introduced in the House of Representatives by Reps. Brad Schneider (D-IL), Tom Cole (R-OK), Don Bacon (R-NE), and Yadira Caraveo, M.D. (D-CO) and included 27 initial cosponsors.
If passed, HWRA will allow U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to recapture a total of 40,000 previously allotted but unused green cards, along with visas for qualifying medical professionals’ dependent family members. HWRA would allow USCIS to recapture up to 25,000 previously issued but unused visas for nurses, and up to 15,000 visas for physicians. Along with recapturing the visas, HWRA would instruct the State Department and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to expedite visa processing and maintain the requirement that employers not displace a qualified U.S. worker. The recaptured visas would not be subject to a per-country cap, and visa applications would be eligible for premium processing.
The bill’s goal is to provide access to healthcare and reduce pressure on hospitals. Additionally, it will bring more healthcare workers into the country, which currently has a critical shortage of nurses and physicians. By 2033, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that the U.S. may see a shortage of 54,100 – 139,000 physicians. The BLS also estimates that the U.S. will need an additional 275,000 nurses by 2030.
Before they can receive a visa, all eligible immigrant nurses and physicians must meet all relevant licensing requirements, pay their necessary filing fees, and clear a rigorous national security and criminal background check.
Envoy is pleased to provide you with this information, which was prepared in collaboration with Sherry Neal, who is a Partner at Corporate Immigration Partners, P.C., a U.S. law firm who provides services through the Envoy Platform (the “U.S. Law Firm”).
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