Medical Doctors
 

Procedure to obtain an H-1B visa with temporary working status for foreign-born physicians

 

  • Obtain a Prevailing Wage Determination (PWD) for the area in which s/he will be practicing. A PWD can be obtained through the State Workforce Agency of the state in which the physician will work.
  •  
  • File a Labor Condition Application (LCA) with the regional office of the Employment Training Administration of the US Department of Labor. The physician's employer must attest in the application to working conditions and must comply with state-approved standards for working conditions and disclosure.
  •  
  • Submit an H-1B petition with USCIS regional service centre. The employer must show in the application that the employment and qualifications of the physician meet immigration law standards and that it can pay the appropriate wage.

 

Documents pertaining to the physician's education, licenses and compliance with examination requirements and regulations must accompany the petition.

Validity of H-1B visa

Initially it will be for 3 years, with one possible three-year extension. After six years have elapsed, the physician should either have obtained a permanent residence status or leave the US.

Procedure for getting permanent residency for foreign-born physicians

  • A foreign-born physician can achieve permanent residence status if his employer can show that they are unable to find a native physician to fill the job. It can be done through the following procedure:
  • The employer must apply for alien labor certification from the US Department of Labor. This should be done after advertising in an appropriate national medical journal and ensuring that there are no qualified US physicians available. However, physicians who intend to practice in medically underserved areas for at least five years can petition to bypass the labor certification requirement.
  • The employer must also submit a visa petition to the USCIS, stating the category for which the physician qualifies (mostly E-B2 visas) and that the physician's salary and employment future are in good standing.

 

Conclusion

Doctors who are seeking employment in the US should be mindful of licensing requirements and of all their options, and should make their plans before the completion of medical school. With proper foresight, and the advice of a qualified attorney, a foreign national physician should have little problem obtaining employment in the US, especially in medically underserved areas or health professional shortage areas.

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