Today, FAH President and CEO Chip Kahn sent a letter to Jeffrey Zients, COVID-19 Response Coordinator and Counselor to the President, that outlines the severe workforce shortage hospitals continue to face, caused in part by the State Department’s delayed issuance of immigrant visas to desperately needed foreign-trained nurses.
The letter raises this issue of grave concern affecting hospitals’ capacity to care for severely ill COVID-19 patients and requests the White House’s immediate intervention.
The Immigrant Visa Prioritization guidance issued by the State Department in April 2021 placed highly trained health care professionals and registered nurses in Tier Four for the visa authorization process for entry into the United States, the lowest priority tier. This is causing severe delays and backlogs for entry among this population.
The letter urges the State Department to amend the guidance and direct U.S. embassies and consulates abroad to prioritize issuing visas to foreign-trained nurses and asked them to list health care professionals in Tier One of the Department’s priority list for processing.
The full letter can be found here.