No free USA visas for nurses and doctors during coronavirus outbreak

The United States is “giving free VISA to Doctors and Nurses who wish to work in US as Coronavirus Case Rises,” claims an article on the Nigerian website Odince Blog.

The article has been shared on Facebook, where it’s been viewed more than 1.7 million times.

The Covid-19 pandemic has put huge pressure on hospitals across the world. But is the US really offering free visas in exchange for more nurses and doctors?

Visa services for medical professionals

Odince Blog bases its claim on a page on the US department of state website. The article is mainly just text copied from the page, and includes a link to it. Except the state department  page does not say that free visas will be given to health workers.

Instead, it says that while “routine visa services” have been suspended, the state department will provide some “emergency and mission critical visa services”. These include visa services for medical professionals who have already had their visas approved.

Much of the state department page is correctly quoted by Odince Blog, but a critical sentence encouraging “medical professionals seeking to work in the United States” to seek a visa appointment does not appear at all on the state department page.

There is no mention of free visas, or of visas being given to new applicants. There is also no specific announcement, as Odince Blog claims, that the state department “is looking to hire international medical staff” to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic.

The US embassy in Rwanda says on its website that it has also noted misunderstandings about this message. It clarifies that the US “does NOT have a new recruitment channel for medical professionals to come to the United States”. – Keegan Leech


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