As we've all heard from the news and seen in our own lives, the COVID-19 pandemic seems to be operating in full force once again with the Omicron variant. No one is staying busier than healthcare workers, operating day and night as hospitals are once again facing the possibility of being overwhelmed by Covid patients.
Only this time the country is nearly two years into the pandemic, approximately 450,000 healthcare workers have left the profession since it began, and hospitals are facing a shortage of employees since the new Omicron variant is affecting both the vaccinated and unvaccinated.
In a survey conducted late last year, 76% of healthcare workers reported being exhausted and burned out, yet it is paramount to the U.S.'s success against the virus for hospitals to maintain a satisfied and motivated staff.
The U.S. government's response to this hospital staff shortage is finally being addressed, somewhat, in that USCIS is providing a way for the expedited renewal of wok permits known as employment authorization documents (EADs) for healthcare workers who meet certain conditions.
The USCIS alert guidance issued on December 28, 2021 states that healthcare workers who have a pending EAD renewal application, and whose employment authorization will expire within 30 days or has already expired, can now request expedited processing of their EAD renewals.
If you are unsure whether your professional status qualifies as a healthcare worker for USCIS purposes, read pages 7-9 of the Department of Homeland Security's Advisory Memo on Critical Infrastructure Workers. The qualifications for healthcare workers are wide-reaching and not only include people like doctors, nurses, and hospital staff, but even those working at medical supply factories and medical retail facilities, and many types of jobs in between. If you qualify you can request expedited processing of your EAD based on your circumstance as a healthcare worker by calling the USCIS Contact Center at 800-375-5283.
Please note that when you call for the expedite request you will need to provide evidence of your profession or current employment as a healthcare worker. This may include, but is not limited to, dates of employment at healthcare facilities, proof of your professional and/or employment background, and information of this nature. If you are in the category of persons who qualify for expedited processing of your EAD application we encourage you to call USCIS as soon as possible.
If you have questions about a pending USCIS petition or you are a healthcare worker needing assistance in expediting your EAD application, please reach out to us at (757) 422-8472, or send us a message on our website. You can also schedule an appointment with one of our attorneys by clicking on this link.