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Immigration changes for physicians on the horizon – Spring 2014
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By Greg Siskind, Attorney, Siskind Susser PC Immigration Lawyers

While the media has reported extensively on immigration reform legislation that would legalize millions and pour billions of dollars into border security, there are many lesser known provisions. Among the issues being addressed are problems with our current physician immigration system.

International Medical Graduates (IMGs) comprise more than 25 percent of the doctors currently training in the US. With a shortfall of physicians already in the six figures, it would seem to be a no-brainer that we would try to retain as many IMGs as we can once their training is finished. Yet we do just the opposite. We have too few J-1 waivers available to meet demand. For those doctors who train on H-1B visas, the annual H-1B quota of 65,000 is a serious obstacle to remaining in the US. For physicians from India (about 30 percent of IMGs), green card backlogs of 10+ years are driving many doctors to leave the country.

The proposed changes in Washington D.C. will address these problems. And there are dozens of other technical provisions that are designed to make the process easier. Even if a comprehensive immigration reform bill fails this year, there is still a good possibility that the physician immigration provisions already drafted will be considered on their own in the near future. For a detailed summary of the physician legislative proposals, please contact our firm at

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