Immigrant Doctors Blocked by New Rules Too

With the U.S. government’s heightened emphasis on stopping immigration into the U.S., there have been noted declines in border crossings; however, it is anticipated that there will be billions in lost income in reduced tourism coincident with the implementation of these policies.

Along with the efforts to curb illegal immigration, new related policies may result in a significant decline in foreign medical graduates allowed to stay in the U.S. through expedited processing of H-1B visas.  This is likely to further strain the care available in rural communities.

From CNN Money: What Trump’s latest H-1B Move Means for Workers and Business

An excerpt:

Thousands of doctors from abroad need H-1B visas to continue working in the U.S. after the expiration of their J-1 visas — which permit them to complete a residency program…

Once they complete their residency, physicians can either return to their home country for two years before becoming eligible to reenter the U.S. through a different immigration pathway, such as an H-1B visa, or they can apply for a J-1 visa waiver.

In the last 15 years, H-1B visas have allowed 15,000 foreign doctors to come to American to work in underserved communities.

“The lack of premium processing would mean that there would be a delay for the doctors to start working in the communities they wish to serve, which have a lack of physicians in the first place,” said Ahsan Hafeez, a doctor who is in Pakistan awaiting approval of his H-1B so he can begin working in Arkansas.

From Internal Medicine News: Foreign doctors may lose US jobs after visa program suspension

An excerpt:

Starting April 3, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is temporarily suspending its expedited processing of H-1B visas, a primary route used by highly skilled foreign physicians and students to practice and train in the United States…

In the meantime, many foreign medical students and physicians will lose top training spots and jobs as their H-1B applications linger in the system, said Jennifer A. Minear, a Richmond, Va.–based attorney and national treasurer for the American Immigration Lawyers Association.

“As a practical matter, the percentages of physicians coming into the U.S. who are accepted into residencies or fellowships, those are the top of the top for medical graduates around the world,” Ms. Minear said in an interview. “Most of them who stay afterward wind up working in underserved areas of the United States. It really doesn’t make much sense as a policy matter to create obstacles to attracting those people to the United States that would prevent them from getting here, obtaining U.S. education, and then remaining in the U.S. and providing urgently needed care to populations that would otherwise go without.”

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