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Posted on: 07 Apr 2020  |   Tags: ,

Millions of Indians, Chinese, South-east Asians, Middle-east Asians crave to get into the United States of America. “The USA Fever” how many of us have not dreamt of being in the USA, many of us isn’t it??

We have grown up listening to our elderly people’s advice that it is the time of Crisis in which you will know the scale of importance/balance/efforts/genuineness etc… Same is with the case with the Indian Doctors and other medics in the frontline in the USA.

At one end we wake up to the headlines where Trump is heard to be creating pressure on India on the export of Hyrdrocholo….. Whatever drug and said if India doesn’t not co-operate he might have to barge in for an investigation.

On the other hand several Indian Doctors who have been serving in the USA for about several years are worrying not about the pandemic, or about treating patients infected with Covid-19 or about the exposure to the virus, But about their visa statuses as they fear being deported or being categorized under the illegal immigrants category. Trump at one end asked the medical professions to fight with the pandemic as a war like situation and the USCIS on the other end states that the Doctor may-may be given an H-2 Visa process followed by an in-person interview. It is the same category on which several workers in Trump’s properties are now working. An Immigration Lawyer Greg Siskind contended that- “isn’t there a difference between seasonal temporary workers at Trump’s hotels and Doctors treating patients in several parts of the USA.”


 Let’s look at the worry of the Indian Doctors in the USA as reported to the Los Angeles Times.

Dr Sujit Vakkalanka a 31 year old Indian Doctor showed symptoms of COVID-19. His test results were negative, but as he was running fever the authorities have ask him to isolate until the symptoms show up.

“If you don’t keep working, you might sometimes be deported,” the internist said.

Vakkalanka reported that “It’s an added weight to bear, and others in the same boat, as they fight the pandemic. This feeling that you might be deported in the next three months should not be constantly haunting you, day in and day out, It’s one more thing to worry about.”

“God forbid an extreme scenario.… Imagine our family,” said Rahmath Begum, an Indian doctor in Mississippi and mother of three. “We have been here for almost 15 years.” As the doctors fears about the policy for the families of the non-immigrant visa holders in the US, according which if the primary holder dies in the US, the family visa status is cancelled and they are deported from the US.

“There is a real possibility that once I’m done with this process, not only [may I not] have a job; I may be an illegal immigrant in a country where I’m sweating it out every day in the hospital,” said Dr. Vidit Bhargava.

“Nobody is fearful in the hospital of taking care of people. What people are fearful of is that we may expose ourselves to the risk if there aren’t ways for us to protect ourselves,” he said. “Anytime a patient has any respiratory illness, all of those patients end up coming to the ICU.... There isn’t enough personal protective equipment.… Within the next couple of weeks we’re expected to run out.”

Amid the high stakes, Bhargava wishes he didn’t feel the additional pressure of visa uncertainty.

“The last thing I want to think about is prioritizing my visa status when there’s so much else to be done,” he said. “It’s actually terrifying when I think about the fact that I’ve invested so many years of my life here.... [I could] have no job security, no security of where we live.”

In Indiana, another Indian doctor seeking to transition from a J-1 to an H-1B said he has been treating 14 infected patients.

“Trump says that this is a war. And we are fighting a war. We are like soldiers,” said the physician, who asked to remain anonymous for fears over his visa status. “While we’re fighting on the front lines … you really want to give 100%, and all your thoughts should be on one thing. The [visa] stress can be difficult.”

“There’s generally a lot of anxiety in the air about what’s going to happen, because so much of it is really out or our control right now,” said Basim Ali, a 24-year-old Pakistani who matched with a medical residency program in Texas.

Ali said he is in touch with hundreds of other medical trainees across the world who have been accepted to U.S. programs and estimates that each has invested $10,000 to $15,000 in the process.

“People draw loans sometimes to make sure they don’t fall short,” he said. “My investment in this process is now several years old.”

Experts said the need for foreign medical professionals is key to remedying the medical crisis in the U.S.

“If we have any decrease in the number of healthcare providers, let alone [the fact that we’re] needing more, then we’re at risk of not being able to treat people,” said William Pinsky, president and chief executive of the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates.

Pinsky had said that he is optimistic that the process of transition of J-1 and H-1B for the medical professionals needs to be done on a priority basis. However the USCIS has not given any clarification on the process of visa renewal or transition as many immigration authorities and processes are been kept on hold amidst the Covid-19 outbreak.

So, what’s the matter of choice here has to do with, Justin Trudeau the Canadian Prime Minister starts his meeting by wishing “Sikh Heritage Month” which is celebrated throughout April in Canada and has thanked the Sikh community in Canada for their contribute by all the means possible to the country. He also mentioned that Indians, especially the Sikh Canadians have been great contributors not just to the Canadian economy but to the situations as these.

Australian Government has made relief funds during this pandemic which would include almost all the immigrants and the non-immigrant category migrants. The benefit of Permanent Residency Visas comes with a lot of security of immigrants in these pandemic situations or the global recession situations where the governments are more likely to cover them in the relief benefits and not by putting pressure on them towards their visa statuses or deportation.

When you think of Immigration or Overseas Movement, when you are investing into the process in terms of both Money and Time, when you are planning for the investment of your career/skills towards the economy of another country, or for that matter you are planning to invest into the overseas education program, choose wisely on which country or process will hold you with utmost security during the pandemic situations as these.

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