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CISOMB Recommendations: Employment Eligibility for Derivatives of Conrad State 30 Physician Program

Impact on the Public

International medical graduates in the United States make important contributions in clinical care in underserved areas, as well as research and teaching. These recommendations, issued by the Citizenship and Immigration Services Ombudsman, seek to ensure that spouses of foreign medical doctors accepted into the Conrad State 30 program are able to obtain employment authorization. Under this program, each state may receive up to 30 physicians each year to provide medical services to rural, inner city, and other medically underserved communities. USCIS currently does not permit spouses to change to an employment-authorized nonimmigrant status, even where the dependent independently qualifies for such status.

Recommendations

  1. Publish new regulations that permit independently eligible J-2 dependents of J-1 physicians approved for a Conrad State 30 program waiver to change to other employment-authorized nonimmigrant classifications; and
  2. Issue new policy guidance clearly explaining that J-2 visa holders, who are derivative beneficiaries of a Conrad State 30 program waiver, may change to any nonimmigrant status for which they are otherwise qualified and eligible.  
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