The United States announced its readiness to issue visas to foreign doctors: why this led to a scandal
On March 26, the US State Department announced its readiness to issue visas to medical professionals specializing in the fight against COVID-19, having published the corresponding statement on its official website. This caused a flurry of criticism on social networks around the world - as a result, the text of the statement was rewritten.
Initially, the statement looked like this: “We call on medical professionals who want to get a job in the United States on a work visa or as part of an exchange program (category H or J), especially those working in the [anti-] COVID-19 area, to contact with your nearest US embassy or consulate to schedule a visa interview. ”
As the newspaper noted The Washington PostThe State Department’s report caused a flurry of criticism from social media users around the world. They accused "the US government of indulging a potentially dangerous" brain drain "among doctors and other healthcare providers from countries with weaker healthcare systems."
Others noted that under normal conditions obtaining such work permits in the United States could take years, and were outraged by how sharply the American authorities changed their attitude when the country was in danger of spreading coronavirus.
After that, the State Department changed the text of the notification. The new version no longer spoke about those specialists who want to get a job, but about the doctors who were invited to the country by American employers.
“The announcement of the termination of the provision of visa services on a regular basis in the world raised questions as to whether medical specialists with J / H visas are allowed to enter the United States and remain in the country. Trying to quickly respond and provide instructions to those who submit applications, the consular bureau published a notice on the website explaining that such medical workers with approved petitions [from employers] can continue processing, ”explained TASS at the State Department.
“We acknowledge that our initial notice was not clearly worded, and we have since updated it to make it clear that this applies only to applicants who have an approved petition from an employer in the United States, or to those who participate in certified exchange programs.” , - declared in the American foreign policy department.
Now the text looks like this:
“We encourage healthcare professionals with an approved petition to issue a non-immigrant or immigrant visa to the United States (I-129 or I-140 with a current priority date or similar) or a certificate of participation in an approved visitor exchange program (DS-2019), in particular those who are working on the treatment or mitigation of COVID-19, look at the website of your nearest embassy or consulate for procedures to request a visa interview. ”
For those foreign medical professionals who are already in the United States:
J-1 foreign physicians can consult with their program sponsor, ECFMG, to extend their stay in the United States. As a rule, the J-1 program for a foreign medical resident can be extended for one year at a time - and up to seven years in general.
Please note that the expiration date for a U.S. visa does not determine how long you can stay in the United States. You can determine the required departure date link.
Those who need to extend their stay or change their visa status should contact USCIS by visiting special page.
The suspension of the provision of regular visa services at US embassies and consulates in most countries of the world was announced on March 18 amid the worsening situation with the new coronavirus. Moreover, as the representative of the State Department explained to TASS then, “to the extent possible, the embassy and consulate will continue to provide visa services related to urgent and emergency situations.”
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