The United States expressed readiness to issue visas to foreign doctors: why it led to scandal

On 26 March, the US state Department has declared its readiness to issue visas for healthcare workers specializing in the fight against COVID-19, having published the corresponding statement on its official website. This provoked a storm of criticism on social networks around the world — in the end, the text of the statement copied.

США заявили о готовности выдавать визы иностранным врачам: почему это привело к скандалу

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Initially, the application looked like this: “We urge health professionals who want to work in the U.S. on a work visa or in the framework of exchange programmes (category H or J), particularly those working in the area of [combat] COVID-19, contact the nearest Embassy or Consulate to schedule an interview for a visa”.

As noted by the newspaper The Washington Post, the message of the Department of state provoked a storm of criticism of social network users around the world. They accused “the US government in connivance potentially dangerous “brain drain” among doctors and other health workers from countries with weaker health care system.”

Others noted that in ordinary conditions the obtaining of such permits to work in the U.S. may take years, and was outraged how the us authorities sharply changed their attitude in conditions when in the country there is a danger of the spread of coronavirus.

After that, the state Department changed the text of the notification. In the new version have heard about those professionals who want to work, and about the doctors who were invited into the country by American employers.

“The announcement of the cessation of the provision of visa services on a regular basis in the world has raised questions about whether health professionals with visas J/H to enter the USA and stay in the country. In an effort to rapidly respond and provide guidance to those who submit applications, Bureau of consular Affairs issued a notice on the website explaining that such health workers with approved petitions [from employers] can continue execution”, — said TASS in the state Department.

“We recognize that our initial notice was vague, and we have since updated it to clarify that it applies only to applicants who have an approved petition from an employer in the United States, or those participating in certified exchange programs,” said the American foreign Ministry.

Now the text looks like this:

“We encourage health workers with an approved petition for a nonimmigrant or immigrant visa in the United States (I-129 or I-140 with a current priority date or similar) or a certificate of participation in the approved program of exchange visitors (DS-2019), in particular those who work on a treatment or mitigation of the application of COVID-19, to view the website of your nearest Embassy or Consulate for procedures to request an interview for a visa”.

For those foreign medical professionals who are already in the United States:

Doctors-foreigners categories: J-1 may want to consult the sponsor of his program, ECFMG, to extend the period of stay in the United States. As a rule, the program J-1 foreign medical resident may be renewed for one year at a time and up to seven years in General.

Please note that the date of expiration of U.S. visa does not determine how long you can stay in the United States. To determine the required departure date on the link.

Those who need to extend their stay or change visa status must contact the USCIS by visiting a special page.

The suspension of the provision on a regular basis visa services at embassies and consulates of the United States in most countries of the world were announced on March 18 on the background of the situation with the new coronavirus. However, as said TASS representative of the state Department, “as opportunities the Embassy and Consulate will continue to provide visa services related to urgent and emergency situations.”

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