Unlike other immigrants who require paperwork to work legally in the United States, foreign doctors (3 million foreign physicians) and health care workers are working on the front lines to address the pandemic. The Association of American Medical Colleges estimated that the shortage could be at a minimum of at least 46,000 and to a high of up to 121,000 physicians by 2032.

We also see that foreign physicians are facing trouble in trying to extend visa status where some hospitals or medical care facilities pose delays due to red tape.

We have a shortage of health care workers and these important foreign workers can help fight the pandemic and we cannot afford to lose any health care workers right now.

More than one in four doctors in the United States were born in another country, and many nurses, dentists, pharmacists, and home health aides are also immigrants. Out of 164,000 health care professionals, almost 17 percent are not born in America and almost five percent are not U.S. citizens. This data clearly indicates that the American health care system relies very heavily on individuals who were born in other countries

Asia sends the most health care professionals to the U.S., accounting for about six percent of the total workforce, followed by Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean, accounting for about five percent of health workers. About 29 percent of physicians are born in other countries, and almost seven percent were not U.S. citizens.

Among pharmacists, 20 percent are foreign-born, and almost four percent are not American citizens. And 16 percent of registered nurses are immigrants. Slightly more than 23 percent of home health, psychiatric and nursing aides are born outside the U.S. These frontline workers are facing issues related to their immigration paperwork.

Foreign physicians around 4,000 or more who have been accepted into US residency programs are delayed now due to the consular related issues however the US government is trying to expedite such cases due to the dire imminent shortage of health care workers related to the pandemic.

Many of the physicians may enter the US on a J-1 visa while residency programs begin July 1, 2020, and such incoming training physicians treat patients while in training. Hopefully, the consulates and embassies will expedite such physicians’ cases.

Related Blogs: https://emandilaw.com/immigration-update-april15/

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