- The Senate has reintroduced the Healthcare Workforce Resilience (HWRA) Act
- HWRA would permit up to 40,000 visas to be recaptured
- HWRA would allow 25,000 visas to be issued for nurses and 15,000 for physicians
- The recaptured visas would allow workers to live and work in the US and bring dependents
- The goal of HWRA is to alleviate critical worker shortages in healthcare
- Employers and applicants would need to meet specific criteria to obtain a visa
The US Senate has reintroduced a bipartisan bill called the Healthcare Workforce Resilience (HWRA) Act that will permit up to 25,000 nurses and 15,000 physicians to receive unused visas to live and work in the US.
HWRA was first 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). In 2023, the bill was introduced again by Sen. Durbin, along with Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-ND) and Reps. Don Bacon (R-NE-2) and Brad Schneider (D-IL-10). As with 2021, the bill has bipartisan support.
If passed, HWRA will allow US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to recapture a total of 40,000 previously issued 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 Department of State (DOS) and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to expedite visa processing and require employers to prove that hiring a foreign national nurse or physician has not and will not displace a qualified US worker. The recaptured visas would not be subject to a per-country cap, and visa applications would be eligible for premium processing.
The bill aims 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.
Before receiving 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.
Written by: Lucy Halse, Content Marketing Associate, Envoy Global
Edited by: Frank Fogelbach, Supervising Attorney, Corporate Immigration Partners
Source: Dick Durbin, United States Senator, Illinois