Witnesses Testify At Senate Hearing On Importance Of Immigrant Workers To U.S. Health Care System – General Immigration

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On September 14, 2022, several witnesses testified at a hearing
held by the Senate Subcommittee on Immigration, Citizenship, and
Border Safety, “Flatlining Care: Why Immigrants Are Crucial to
Bolstering Our Health Care.” Among them were Sarah K.
Peterson, Principal Attorney, SPS Immigration PLLC, who testified
about “smart immigration reform” to allow International
Medical Graduates (IMGs,) international nurses, and other
healthcare professionals to help address the United States’
“ongoing shortage of access to medical care, ensuring that all
Americans are able to access basic, primary medical care regardless
of where they live in the United States.”

Among other things, Ms. Peterson urged Congress to pass two
pending bills: the Conrad State 30 and Physician Access
Reauthorization Act, S. 1810 (H.R. 3541), and the Healthcare
Workforce Resilience Act, S. 1024 (H.R. 2255). She said that the
passage of these bills would increase access to medical care and
bring relief to underserved populations, and to J-1 physicians and
international nurses. She noted, for example, that the Conrad bill
would provide “cap gap” relief for J-1 trainees, similar
to that provided to F-1 students working in Optional Practical
Training status, whose work authorization expires before October 1
and whose employers have filed a cap-subject H-1B petition selected
in the registration period. “Expanding this relief to
physicians would provide employers with quicker access to necessary
health care and allow these foreign national physicians to change
status in the United States, without having to depart the United
States, obtain a visa, and only be permitted to re-enter the U.S.
months later. Cap gap work-authorization for U.S.-trained
physicians would add a quarter of a year or more of badly needed
physician coverage and is smart immigration reform,” she


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In U.S. immigration, employers and foreign national workers participate in the H-1B lottery each spring, with hopes of securing the temporary work visa, which allows for two, three-year periods of work authorization for highly skilled workers.


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