H-1b visas for doctors make lots of sense.  The United States fails to train enough doctors to care for its unhealthy and aging population.  Seriously, the average american male is 200 pounds and shade under five feet, ten inches (5’10”).  This means that the average American has a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 29, meaning they are overweight and boarding on the obese rating of 30.  Americans have greater health problems because of how bad of shape they are in, which means that H-1B visas for doctors can greatly help a problem the US faces.

H-1b visas for doctors can help fill the shortfall

In 2017, the Association of American Medical Colleges predicted that the shortfall of doctors will be 88,000 by 2025, and 104,900 by 2030. Americans may stop eating garbage and all begin exercising 6 days a week, but that is not likely.  Moreover, Americans are growing older.  The percentage of Americans over 65 will grow by fifty-five percent (55%) by 2030.  America has a vested interest in granting H-1B  visas for doctors.  Also, most of these H-1B visas do not face the cap that businesses face because most hospitals are exempt non-profits.  In theory, H-1B visas could fill the gap, in conjunction with J-1 visas.

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Guidance for Petitions in Which the Doctor or Medical Professional Is in Possession of a License

If the Hospital provides documentary evidence that the doctor has a valid license to practice a health care occupation in the state in which the doctor will be employed, the government should not look beyond the license.

The doctor meets the qualifications to perform services in a specialty occupation as outlined in the federal regulations from the USCIS. 8 CFR 214.2(h)(4)(iii)(C)(3).

If the doctor is in possession of an unrestricted license, and the petition is otherwise in order, the USCIS should approve the petition for the full H-1B period requested.

If the doctor is in possession of a restricted license (e.g., license approved except for mandatory supervised practice), and the petition is otherwise approved, the USCIS should approve the petition for a period of one year, or the duration of the restricted license, whichever is longer.

Guidance for Petitions in Which the Doctor Is Not in Possession of a License

In order to perform in a health care occupation, the doctor must obtain a license from the state in which he/she will be working, meaning the doctor must meet the license provisions for H classifications.

If the hospital states that the doctor cannot obtain a license to practice the health care occupation in the state in which the doctor will be employed due to the fact that the state’s statutes mandate possession of a social security card and/or a valid immigration document as evidence of employment authorization, the adjudicator must ascertain the requirements for the license (including educational degree requirements) in the health care occupation in that state to determine whether the doctor is qualified to perform.

All aliens who wish to enter the United States to practice in a health care occupation other than as a physician must be found to be admissible under Section 212(a)(5)(C) of the the Immigration and Nationality Act (the “Act”).

If the hospital fails to provide evidence that the doctor received a certificate from a recognized credentialing organization as outlined in 212(a)(5)(C) of the Act, the doctor may still qualify for classification as an H-1B non-immigrant.

If the doctor is seeking to extend status or change status, and the hospital fails to provide the requisite credentialing evidence, the request for extension or change of status should be denied as the doctor is inadmissible under Section 212(a)(5)(C) of the Act.

If after conducting research the adjudicator is unable to determine the state’s requirements for licensing, the USCIS may send the hospital a request for evidence (RFE) asking the hospital to provide documentary evidence of the state’s requirements.

Furthermore, the hospital will need to provide evidence that the doctor:

Has filed an application for a license in accordance with state or local rules and procedures; and

Cannot obtain a full unrestricted license in the state in which he/she will practice due to the requirement for possession of a social security card, valid immigration document, and/or physical presence in the United States in the form of a letter from the State Board.

Assuming a petition is approvable under the above standards, the validity period should be one year.

The approval of any such H-1B petition shall not constitute approval by USCIS for the alien doctor to engage in any activity requiring possession of such State or local license.

It is merely a means to facilitate the state or local licensing authority’s issuance of such a license to the alien, provided all other requirements are satisfied.

If the hospital later requests an extension of stay on behalf of the doctor , the hospital must demonstrate that the doctor has been granted a valid unrestricted license to practice the health care occupation in the state in which he/she will be working.

If the doctor does not have the valid unrestricted license at the time the extension of stay petition is filed, the petition will be denied.