Siskind Summary: The Healthcare Workforce Resilience Act – May 1, 2020

Posted on: May 1st, 2020
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] [UPDATED 5/17/2020] This Senate bill is numbered S.3599 and HR6788 in the House. S.3599 has four sponsors – Senator Perdue (R-GA), Senator Durbin (D-IL), Senator Young (R-IN) and Senator Coons (D-DE). HR 6788 is co-sponsored by Representative Brad Schneider (D-IL), Representative Tom Cole (R-OK), Representative Don Bacon (R-NE), and Representative Abby Finkenauer (D-IA).

Section 1. Short Title

The bill is titled the “Healthcare Workforce Resilience Act.”

Section 2. Recapturing Unused Immigrant Visas for Professional Nurses and Physicians.

Section 106(d) of the American Competitiveness in the Twenty-first Century Act of 2000 (AC21) is amended with respect to recapturing unused employment-based green cards. Up to 40,000 recaptured immigrant visa numbers are available to employment-based immigrants and their family members accompanying or following to join if their I-140 petitions were filed before the date that is 90 days after the termination of the President’s declaration of the COVID-19 national emergency.

25,000 of the 40,000 are reserved for nurses.

15,000 of the 40,000 are reserved for physicians.

Per country caps do not apply and green cards will be allocated for each of these groups based on the priority date assigned at the time the visa petition was filed.

The reserve of numbers available for recapture is based on unused green card numbers from fiscal years 1992 to 2020. The number available will be reduced by the number of green cards issued under this bill.

Family members (spouses and minor children) who are accompanying or following to join the nurse or doctor principal beneficiary shall be entitled to an “unreserved” visa in the same status and in the same order of consideration. This means they don’t count against the 40,000 limit (though they will be subtracted against the total number of recaptured visas).

DHS shall provide for premium processing for reviewing and acting upon petitions filed by nurses and doctors covered under this bill. This is written broadly enough that it should cover I-140 petitions as well as adjustment of status applications. USCIS may not charge a premium processing fee for such expediting.

DHS shall expedite the shipping of approved I-140 petitions to the Department of State if consular processing of an immigrant visa is required. The Department of State is then required to expedite the processing of applications for immigrant visas under this bill.

Finally, before a green card is issued under this bill, the employer of a nurse seeking an immigrant visa at a consulate must attest in a job offer letter to be presented during the consular interview that the hiring of the nurse or doctor has not displaced and will not displace a US worker.