COVID-19 stirs deportation fears for physicians on work visas

The COVID-19 pandemic is sparking deportation fears for thousands of physicians working in the country on temporary visas, according to The Wall Street Journal. 

About 15,000 physicians are practicing in the U.S. on H-1B visas, which allow U.S. companies to temporarily employ foreign workers in specialty occupations. If these physicians lose their job or die of COVID-19, they and their families may lose their legal status in the U.S. 

Physicians said they're also concerned about getting furloughed or developing a long-term disability from COVID-19. In these scenarios, physicians would have 60 days to find a new job or leave the country after being removed from a hospital's payroll.

"For those of us on the front line, this is like a war. We are fighting this virus like a military would do," Anupam Kumar, MD, a Michigan-based critical care physician working on an H-1B visa, told WSJ. "It is not just our lives, but the lives of our spouses and kids. If something happens to me, there is nothing that can be done to protect my family."

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