Thu, 27 Jun 2013 05:49:10 GMT

Legislation introduced to let foreign docs in US stay longer

From Lalit K Jha
Washington, Jun 27 (PTI) In an effort to address the acute shortage of doctors in the United States, Indian-American lawmaker Dr Ami Bera, along with his other colleagues introduced a legislation in the Congress to allow international doctors to remain in the country longer.

"As a doctor myself, I know this legislation is going to help deal with an immense need for more doctors in this country," Bera said, after introducing the legislation which will allow international doctors to remain in the country longer than their visas initially permitted if they agree to practise in underserved areas.

The Association of American Medical Colleges projects that there will be a shortage of 63,000 doctors by 2015 and more than 130,000 by 2025 in US.

"America''s strength has always been built on our ability to attract the best and the brightest people from around the world to innovate and help us here in the US. This bill is simply common-sense and, I will work to make sure it''s part of any comprehensive immigration reform bill introduced in the House," he said.

Under the current law, most international physicians who are trained in the US on J-1 visas, must return to their home country for two years after their residency ends before they can apply for a new visa or a green card.

But under the Conrad 30 program, these doctors can stay in the country without returning home if they agree to practise in an underserved area for three years.

"As we look for real immigration solutions, this legislation is a positive step in reforming the visa process," said Congressman Mark Meadows.

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