Congress extends J-1 visa waiver program for International Medical Graduates (IMGs)

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US Visit Visa (As a work of the U.S. federal government, the image is in the public domain.)
US Visit Visa (As a work of the U.S. federal government, the image is in the public domain.)

The Conrad State 30 J-1 Visa Waiver Program provides IMGs a three-year extension by serving in rural areas of the USA, which are physician scarce.

On Sept. 13, the House of Representatives voted 412-3 to approve legislation to continue the Conrad State 30 J-1 Visa Waiver Program through Sept. 30, 2015, amednews reported.

Elizabeth Lietz, spokeswoman for the American Hospital Association said, “We are pleased the program has been reauthorized and would like the program to be permanent.”

More than 9,000 physicians have worked under the program’s umbrella, according to Feb. 1, 2012 letter from the Association of American Medical Colleges to the program’s original sponsor, Senator Kent Conrad. States are allowed up to 30 visa waivers annually under this program.

USA is seeing a shortage of physicians after passage of the Obamacare 2012 healthcare bill.

Another legislation named Conrad State 30 Improvement Act, would permanently reauthorize and make some changes aimed at improving Conrad 30 Program. The draft of the legislation can be viewed here: thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d112:s.1979:. Supporters of the Conrad State 30 Improvement Act, which was referred to the Senate Committee on the Judiciary on Dec. 12, 2011, include the AHA, the AAMC, the American Medical Association and the International Medical Graduate Taskforce.