The Growing Shortage of Helicopter Pilots in the United States
In recent years, there has been a growing shortage of helicopter pilots in the United States. This shortage has left a significant impact not only on the aviation industry, of which helicopter pilots play a vital role, but also in various sectors including the country’s infrastructure, emergency medical services, and even military operations.
This shortage has escalated to the scale of national importance of which a USA EB2 National Interest Waiver is available to resolve this crisis.
Helicopter Pilots – A Vital Role in the United States
As the fourth largest country in the world, the United States has a constant need for helicopter pilots due to the country’s vast geography spanning across a multitude of terrains. Despite the vast network of highways and roads it possesses, when a crisis or natural disaster strikes, vial time is lost when roads are inaccessible. Helicopter pilots can fill this gap by transporting people and goods in such situations, providing a vital link between urban centers, and remote regions.
The Importance of Helicopter Pilots in Emergency and Military Operations
The manoeuvrability of helicopters also makes them the perfect transportation vehicle during search and rescue operations and rendering emergency medical services. Helicopter pilots can skilfully navigate and land in hard-to-reach locations, cover vast and remote areas, and react quickly when ground transportation is unavailable or inadequate.
Helicopter pilots are also crucial to the military operations of the United States as they are used extensively in the military for reconnaissance, transport, and combat operations. They must also be trained to fly in various conditions and be accustomed to flying at low altitudes and in urban environments.
The Dire Shortage of Helicopter Pilots in the United States
However, in spite of this ever-present and growing need for helicopter pilots, there US is experiencing a dire shortage. This shortage has been attributed to several factors, including the aging of the current pilot workforce, increased demand for air travel, and changes in training requirements.
Aging Workforce: An Impending Crisis
According to a report by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the current pilot workforce is aging rapidly. The average age of helicopter pilots in the United States is currently over 50 years old, and many of these pilots are approaching retirement age. This means that there will be a significant number of job openings in the coming years, and the industry will need to find ways to attract and train new pilots to fill these roles.
Impact on Various Sectors including Medical and Air Transport Industries
The shortage of helicopter pilots is not only affecting the air transport industry but also other sectors that rely on helicopter pilots.
For example, according to a recent article in The Wall Street Journal, many medical transport companies are struggling to find qualified helicopter pilots to transport patients to hospitals and medical centers.
This shortage has forced some companies to ground their helicopters or rely on pilots who may not have the same level of experience and training as their counterparts.
National Importance: The USA EB2 National Interest Waiver Program as a Solution
However, despite the growing demand for helicopter pilots, there has been a decrease in the number of pilots entering the industry due to the high barrier-to-entry costs associated with training, ranging from $75,000 to over $150,000 and increased flight hours requirements. These barriers, coupled with the effects of Covid-19 has forced the American aviation industry to confront this shortage and escalate its resolution to one of national importance.
Qualify for a green card
As such, experienced helicopter pilots holding the appropriate background can now qualify for a green card for themselves and their families through the United States EB-2 National Interest Waiver Program.
The EB2 NIW program (View Program) allows individuals to obtain an unconditional green card for themselves and their families thereby allowing them to work and live in the US and alleviate this pilot shortage and render assistance to the US air transport industry and the American public at large.
EB-NIW Visa Processing Time: Expect 8-12 Months
For those aspiring to secure the EB-2 NIW visa, the question of processing times is of paramount importance. Our initial assessment of the EB-2 NIW processing timeline, as conducted when we submitted our initial petitions in December 2021, indicated an expected waiting period of 8 to 12 months for USCIS feedback.
While we are pleased to report that some of our distinguished clients have experienced remarkably expedited responses, with feedback arriving in as little as 3 months, we recommend that all prospective applicants prepare for a standard processing timeframe of 8 to 12 months.
It is essential to recognize that USCIS processing times may exhibit variations based on past cases and circumstances. This awareness is crucial in establishing realistic expectations as you navigate the process of obtaining the EB-2 NIW visa, particularly if you are a helicopter pilot seeking this coveted status.