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 read: “We encourage medical professionals who are seeking employment in the United States on a work visa or exchange program (Category H or J), especially those working in [combating] COVID-19, to contact with the nearest US embassy or consulate to schedule a visa interview. "
As the newspaper noted The Washington Post, The State Department's report drew a flurry of criticism from social media users around the world. They accused "the US government of conniving at a potentially dangerous brain drain among doctors and other healthcare professionals from countries with weaker health 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 has raised questions about whether medical professionals with J / H visas are allowed to enter the United States and remain in the country. In an effort to respond quickly and provide guidance to applicants, the Consular Affairs Bureau posted a notice on its website explaining that such healthcare professionals with approved petitions [from employers] can continue processing, ”explained TASS at the State Department.
“We acknowledge that our initial notice was unclear and we have since updated it to make it clear that this applies exclusively to applicants who have an approved petition from a US employer or who participate in certified exchange programs.” , - said in the American Foreign Office.
Now the text looks like this:
“We encourage healthcare professionals with an approved US Nonimmigrant or Immigrant Visa petition (I-129 or I-140 with current priority date or similar) or a Certificate of Participation in an Approved Visitor Exchange Program (DS-2019), particularly those anyone working to treat or mitigate the effects of COVID-19, review the website of their 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 doctors may consult with their program sponsor, ECFMG, to extend their stay in the United States. Typically, the J-1 program for a foreign medical resident can be extended one year at a time - and up to seven years in total.
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 visa services on a regular basis at US embassies and consulates in most countries of the world was announced on March 18 amid the deteriorating situation with the new coronavirus. At the same time, as a representative of the State Department explained to TASS at the time, "as far as possible, the embassies and consulates will continue to provide visa services related to urgent and emergency situations."
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