US to allow visa processing for medical professionals from other countries

The U.S. State Department is opening up visa processing for medical professionals from other countries.

On March 18, the department announced it would suspend routine processing of immigrant and nonimmigrant visas at embassies and consulates worldwide due to the coronavirus pandemic, Medscape reports.

But the scale of the pandemic in the U.S. had made a healthcare worker shortage likely. Many states, such as New York and California, have been urging retired healthcare workers to come back to help hospitals respond to the surge in COVID-19 patients who need care.

Last week, American Medical Association called on the State Department to expand the physician workforce during the COVID-19 pandemic by opening visa processing for international physicians. The Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates also appealed to the State Department to open up visa processing, according to Medscape.

The department lifted the suspension on visa processing for medical professionals from abroad who have approved U.S. nonimmigrant or immigrant visa petitions or a certificate of eligibility in an approved exchange visitor program. These individuals can request visa appointments at their nearest U.S. Embassy or consulate.

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