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June 2012 Archives

International Medical Graduates (IMG) Law Poses Potential Threat to US Residency Programs

A law intended to increase the public’s access to medical care in medically underserved areas (MUA) and Health Professional Shortage Areas (HSPA) has been passed in Texas and New York. Unfortunately, it seems as though the law will have disadvantageous results despite its beneficent intentions.

International Medical Graduates Timelines

The law targets international medical graduates (IMGs) who apply for a Texas medical license on or after September 1, 2012 and are planning to practice medicine within the state. Requiring all non-citizens and non-permanent resident physicians to practice in an MUA or HSPA for three years, regardless of where the residency or fellowship training was conducted, this law greatly limits the locations in which the physicians may practice within Texas. This limitation is cause for worry as it lessens the likelihood of these highly-trained and much needed physicians to practice in the state.

International Medical Graduates in Texas

While this law does not affect those physicians who practice in graduate medical education programs in the state, once the training program is completed and the IMGs seek to practice in Texas, they would mandatorily need to practice in an MUA or a HSPA. Fortunately for those IMGs who will have received their Texas medical licenses before the first of September, this new law is not retroactive.International Medical Graduates TexasIn addition to this inconvenience faced by International Medical Graduates, those physicians on J-1 visas face similar limitations on their practice. These physicians are required to return to their home country two years after their training has been completed. Before applying for a dual-entry visa, the physician must stay in the home country for two additional years. If an IMG wishes to forego this process, it is required to obtain a waiver by practicing in an MUA for three years, the same time frame as that of the new law. However, the majority of IMGs in residency currently are on H-1B visas, which does not present the limit on practice area.With this severe limitation presented by the new law in Texas and New York, the appeal of residency programs in the United States gravely depreciates for IMGs who are looking to practice in the states. According to the Association of American Medical Colleges, one fourth of all physicians in active patient care in the United States consist of IMGs. Additionally, IMGs make up one fourth of all medical residents in the United States.International Medical Graduates LawIf there is a drop in interest in our residency programs, there is bound to be a drop in the availability of highly trained physicians. As there is already a shortage of physicians, thus the passing of this new law, any actions which might worsen this situation should be steered away from.If you would like to speak with one of the Partners at Oltarsh and Associates, P.C. regarding the new International Medical Graduates Law, give us a call at (212) 944-9072.

Acts Propose Greater Opportunities For Immigrant Graduates and Entrepreneurs

The need for higher-skilled graduates and entrepreneurs is currently immense, not just in the United States, but internationally. With the strict immigration policy the US has, however, corporations and academia have very little access to this talent and immigrants have even less access to potentially beneficial business and educational opportunities.The US currently caps the number of H-1B visas issued annually to 65,000. These visas are issued to those immigrants who are able to bring highly specialized knowledge, talent, and experience in various theoretical and practical fields. In order to gauge how small of a number 65,000 really is, it should be noted that in 2008, this quota was met the first day it was offered. Similarly, the quota of the 20,000 H-1B visas that are offered to foreign students graduating from master’s or doctorate programs annually, was also filled on the first day it was offered in 2008.Senators Jerry Moran, R-KS, and Mark Warner, D-VA have introduced the Startup Act in order to ensure the utmost efficiency in regard to higher-skilled graduates and entrepreneurs.

The Startup Act

The Startup Act would establish two new kinds of visas in order to attract new business investments and talent, encourage entrepreneurial development so as to bolster the economy, and to accelerate commercialization of university research conducted by graduates. The Startup Act proposes a visa to be issued to 75,000 current H-1B visa holders who have either raised $100,000 or registered a new business to surpass the three year time limit to work in the US. The second kind of visa would be issued to 50,000 foreign students who have attained a master’s or doctorate degree in science, engineering, math, or technology (STEM).

The STAR ACT

Senator John Cornyn, R-TX, has introduced a similar legislation in regard to the latter category of immigrants.STAR ACT - Securing the Talent America RequiresHis bill, the Securing the Talent America Requires for the 21st Century (STAR) Act proposes to issue 55,000 green cards to those foreign students who are enrolled in STEM programs on the graduate level. With this increase in allocation of green cards, he also proposes to eradicate the diversity lottery. Cornyn is troubled by the amount of foreign STEM graduates who are forced to return to their home country, talents and skills in tow, due to their H-1B visas expiring within six years. In order to ensure that the highly valuable STEM graduates and skilled entrepreneurs stay in the US in order to strengthen the economy, maintain a powerful position in the competing global market, and to encourage growth, the Startup Act and STAR Acts should be given serious thought by the Senate and House Leaders.Contact Oltarsh and Associates for more details if your personal situation is affected by either the Startup Act or the Star Act.
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