Visa applications of foreign doctors to be processed to tackle COVID-19 emergency

indica News Bureau-

To make up for the shortage of medical staff and health care workers in the US, amid the coronavirus pandemic that has so far claimed lives of more than 16,000 Americans and infected over 4.6 lakh people in the country, the US Department of State has declared that foreign medical residents who have valid visa petitions or have been accepted into an exchange visitor program can request emergency visas to combat the spread of coronavirus.

Earlier this week, more than 60 House Democrats had urged the Trump administration to expedite visa processing for foreign medical workers and lift employment restrictions as the country was facing a severe shortage of medical professionals during the time of the pandemics. Keeping the situation in mind, the State Department on Wednesday declared that medical professionals should check with their nearest consulates for the processing of their J-1 visas.

“U.S. embassies and consulates will continue to provide emergency and mission-critical visa services to the extent possible, given resource constraints and local government restrictions,” the department said, adding that J-1 visa medical residents currently working in the U.S. may be able to extend their stay up to one year.

In early March, the department suspended visa services internationally forcing U.S. consular officers to cancel all appointments for a green card and temporary visa applicants. But, the department had made an exception for the foreign farmworkers on H-2A workers, resuming the visa processing.