Trump Administration Resumes Approving Young Doctor Visas

Published: 06/25/2018

Source: http://bit.ly/2MYWiEm

The Trump administration has resumed issuing visas to allow international medical graduates into U.S. residency programs after a delay – and some denials – of allowing these doctors-in-training into the country.

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The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), which works with residency programs, said that “clarifying guidance has been issued internally to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) staff conducting reviews” of medical residents applying for H-1B visas. The H-1B visa is the primary entrance vehicle for non-U.S. international medical graduates who have been accepted into residency.

The timing of the guidance from USCIS is key. Most residency programs begin by July 1 so delaying non-U.S. international medical graduates is critical given it’s not uncommon for one medical resident to see 3,000 or more patients at U.S. hospitals, academic medical centers and clinics, doctor groups say.

“A Department of Homeland Security representative has told us that they are working with USCIS to get resolution for each of the remaining cases of medical residents applying for H-1B visas using AAMC prevailing wage data,” AAMC director of government relations & regulatory affairs Matthew Shick said. “We are hopeful that this resolution will allow medical residents to start programs on time next month without too much disruption.”

At issue was a decision by the Trump administration to not use the AAMC’s “prevailing wage data” as had been done in the past during the H-1B visa application process. That decision drew the ire of medical groups including the American Academy of Family Physicians, American Academy of Pediatrics and the American College of Physicians who complained the Trump administration’s scrutiny of international medical graduates who have already been accepted into U.S. residency programs led to delays and some outright denials of visas for doctors-in-training.

Nearly 4,000 international medical graduates had already been accepted to U.S. residency programs when the Trump administration began to delay the processing of H-1B visas.

But AAMC’s Shick said “pending petitions will be processed and allow the use of AAMC data for prevailing wage determination.”

 “We have also heard reports of applications that had previously been denied now being approved without any new action from the institution,” Shick added.

USCIS continues “to review issues pertaining to private wage surveys and will consider issuing additional guidance to our officers in the future, if needed,” USCIS spokesman Michael Bars said. “If a petitioner has questions or concerns about its case, it may send an inquiry to USCIS through appropriate channels.”

Source: http://bit.ly/2MYWiEm

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