Doctors and Nurses Unions Urge Congress to Utilize Existing Visas for Medical Professionals


SEPTEMBER 16, 2020
Contact: Susan Naranjo 213-808-2341

Doctors and Nurses Unions Urge Congress to Utilize Existing Visas for Medical Professionals
Point to S.3599 and H.R. 6788 to reclaim 40,000 unused employment visas

New York, NY — The Committee of Interns and Residents/SEIU, the New York State Nurses Association and Doctors Council stand together to support passage of The Healthcare Workforce Resilience Act (S. 3599 and H.R. 6788). The Healthcare Workforce Resilience Act (“HWRA”) will allow United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) to reclaim 40,000 unused employment-based visas to be utilized by doctors and nurses, the front line providers in the fight against Covid-19.  We urge passage of this legislation to protect our members who are working to protect patients and communities by providing 15,000 doctors and 25,000 nurses with visas that will solidify their ability to remain in the country they risk their lives to serve every day. HWRA will permit USCIS to recapture up to 40,000 visas that Congress has already approved and give them to the medical professionals who need them instead of leaving them unutilized.  

“So many healthcare heroes who are on the frontlines of the COVID-19 crisis are immigrants who deserve both our respect and the ability to continue to serve without worrying about their immigration status,” said Judy Sheridan- Gonzalez, RN.
Dr Jessica Edwards, National President of CIR-SEIU, said:

“Many CIR residents and fellows are foreign national medical graduates in J-1 or H-1B status who come to the U.S. to lend their skills to U.S. hospitals.  Though very few current CIR members will directly benefit from these employment based visas, CIR believes passage of the HRWA is nonetheless essential.  The entire healthcare system, and through this our CIR members, will benefit from the stability that the HWRA will provide doctors, nurses and their families across this country.”

Frank Proscia, M.D., Doctors Council President made the following statement:

“We need every doctor and nurse we can get in this battle and we need to support those doctors and nurses in their efforts to stay on the frontlines as they put their lives on the line to care for all patients. These doctors and nurses are the very definition of essential and that is why the HWRA needs to be passed.”


The Committee of Interns and Residents/SEIU (CIR) is the largest housestaff union in the United States, representing more than 17,000 resident physicians and fellows in Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Washington, D.C., Florida, New Mexico and California.

The New York State Nurses Association (NYSNA) represents more than 42,000 members in New York State. NYSNA is New York’s largest union and professional association for registered nurses.

Doctors Council is the oldest union for frontline physicians and dentists representing doctors from all departments and specialties in different states.  Doctors Council unites doctors, patients, and the communities it serves, advocating for quality, affordable health