H1B Visa Considerations for Critical Care Providers

Some members have reached out to SCCM indicating they are working on H1B visas which limits their ability to work outside of the sponsoring institution, when when they’ve been asked to help at a neighboring hospital and have the capacity to do so. Further they’ve mentioned concerns that as front line critical care providers in this battle with COVID-19, they are at increased risk of becoming sick and disabled which could result in deportation for them and/or their family. SCCM is interested to know if others are concerned about this matter and how extensive the problem is should the pandemic become even more severe.

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It is very real concern for those front line critical care physicians including myself and others on H1B visa(approved for green card but waiting in backlog as we born in India) working in the current situation. SCCM should work with Government to help mitigate this looming crisis within this pandemic crisis. Pandemic will get worse if critical care work force is at threat.

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SCCM is working with other medical societies to address this issue. Please comment on this draft communication to legislators.

“The U.S. health care workforce heavily relies on health professionals and scientists, including physicians and medical residents, who are practicing or otherwise lawfully present in the U.S. on a visa or other protected status. These providers and researchers, who are often at academic medical centers and safety-net facilities on the front line of the COVID-19 pandemic, are crucial components of our health care workforce. Additionally, most new medical residents match to their residency programs in March and start training and treating patients on or around July 1, necessitating a predictable and timely visa application process. Therefore, we urge the Department of State and the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to:
• Temporarily extend visas and other protected status for physicians and medical residents through the COVID-19 national emergency.
• Expedite approvals of extensions and changes of status for physicians and medical residents practicing or otherwise lawfully present in the U.S.
• Continue and expand the H-1B premium processing option to such applications to facilitate an expedited process.
• Open visa processing at embassies and consulates worldwide for physicians and medical residents as emergency and mission critical visa services.
• Allow physicians and medical residents (including those on J-1 and H-1b visas, such as participants in the Conrad 30 program) to be redeployed as needed to respond the COVID-19 pandemic.”

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Please include that intensivist on H1B visa stuck in anticipated backlog of approx 70 years to process their green card only reason is they born in India. Senate bill 386 is passed by house and block in Senate by Senator Durbin to prevent Equality in Greencard process. If this continue shortage in critical care will worsen.

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Thank you for that important information.

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The Society of Critical Care Medicine (SCCM) is the largest non-profit medical organization dedicated to promoting excellence and consistency in the practice of critical care. With members in more than 100 countries, SCCM is the only organization that represents all professional components of the critical care team. The Society offers a variety of activities that ensures excellence in patient care, education, research and advocacy. Read more
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