At the urging of the AHA, the State Department this week said that because of the emergence of the COVID-19 delta variant and continued demand for health care professionals, U.S. embassies and consulates were instructed that they may prioritize “as emergencies on a case-by-case basis the immigrant visa cases of certain health care professionals who will work at a facility engaged in pandemic response.”  

Health care professionals who will work at a facility engaged in COVID-19 response and have an approved U.S. immigrant visa petition with a current priority date for an Immediate Relative, Family Preference, or Employment-Based Preference case may review the website of their nearest U.S. embassy or consulate for procedures to request an emergency visa appointment. More details are included on the State Department’s webpage.

The AHA in June urged the State Department to give foreign-trained nurses seeking immigrant visas priority for processing to solve the backlog of immigrant visas for eligible foreign-trained nurses.

“There has never been a more urgent need for the care that foreign-trained nurses provide than during the current COVID-19 pandemic and its looming aftermath,” AHA wrote. “These professionals play critical roles in ensuring the health of the communities we serve. … Foreign-trained nurses do not displace American workers. At the same time, the demand for nurses continues to grow. Many foreign-trained nurses are recruited to rural and inner-city hospitals, locations that find it more difficult to recruit domestically.”

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