Designates VA and State Veterans Homes as cap exempt institutions for the H1-B visa program
Two US Congresswoman have introduced a bill to make it easier for the VA and State Veterans Homes to hire foreign employees on H1-B visas when they cannot find a suitable applicant in the United States.
Introduced on May 25 by Rashida Tlaib and Delia Ramirez the Expanding Health Care Providers for Veterans Act specifically designates the Department of Veterans Affairs and State Veterans Homes as cap exempt institutions for the purposes of the H1-B visa program.
“Our veterans deserve high-quality health care,” said Tlaib. “We cannot just express our gratitude to our veterans for their service to our country, we must do more to ensure that every veteran has the support they need to live healthy lives.”
“I am proud to introduce this legislation to expand health care providers for our veterans by welcoming health care professionals who are immigrants to care for them, and I will continue to ensure that our veterans are not forgotten when they return home.”
“We have a duty to uphold our commitment to our veterans, who are being affected by the health worker shortage in our nation. We can address this shortage with the immigrants in our communities who are ready and want to work, but face so many hurdles to do so. We can and must address this,” said Ramirez, member of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs.
“I am proud to co-lead the Expanding Health Care Providers for Veterans Act that will help address the health care provider shortage by allowing our indispensable immigrant health workers, who are H1-B visa holders, to offer the services our veterans need.”
The Expanding Health Care Providers for Veterans Act was developed after the Detroit VA Medical Center nearly had to close their methadone clinic – which provides life-saving care to more than 90 local veterans – earlier this year due to hiring difficulties imposed by the H1-B visa cap, according to a media release from Tlaib.
Tlaib’s intervention was able to prevent the clinic’s closure, and this bill is designed to ensure such a situation does not arise again in the future, it said.
This legislation is endorsed by The Veterans For Peace Save Our VA National Project and The American Immigration Lawyers Association.
“It is essential that the VA Healthcare System is able to expeditiously hire qualified personnel to treat veterans. Delays in hiring can and do have significant consequences for veterans needing treatment,” said Jeff Roy, Coordinator for The Veterans For Peace Save Our VA National Project.
“In situations where citizens are not available, this legislation will allow VA and State Veterans Homes to hire foreign employees on H1-B visas when they cannot find a suitable US citizen applicant. Providing timely care to those who answered the call to duty is a sacred obligation, and this legislation will help the VA to meet it,” he said.
“AILA welcomes Representatives Rashida Tlaib and Delia Ramirez’s introduction of the Expanding Health Care Providers for Veterans Act as a common-sense proposal to help address the health care needs of Veterans by exempting certain positions at the VA and State Veterans Homes from the H-1B visa cap,” said Sharvari Dalal-Dheini, Director of Government Relations at The American Immigration Lawyers Association.
“The limited number of H-1B visas available annually, and the extremely high demand for those visas, leaves VA and State Veterans Homes unable to fill critical positions,” she said.
“By proposing to exempt these workers from the H-1B cap, similar to how other employees of non-profit and government entities are treated, this bill would help ensure our Veterans’ healthcare needs are met.”
The full text of the legislation can be found here.