U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (D-NY), a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, today called on the State Department to improve the visa approval process for Indian and Pakistani physicians slated to work in the United States.
In a letter to the Acting Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of Consular Affairs, Meng said that international physicians set to do their residencies at American hospitals have encountered great difficulty in obtaining J-1 visas from their U.S. Embassies, especially those located in India and Pakistan. The problem has resulted in serious dilemmas for the physicians, and the American hospitals at which they’re set to work.
“I am told that in the past years, there have been several instances where undue delays in the issuance of visas resulted in hospitals having to withdraw offers to foreign physicians who had already accepted, effectively preventing these physicians from entering the United States at all,” Meng wrote in her correspondence to Assistant Secretary of State Michele Bond. “I understand that the Department of State has made great strides in recognizing the unique time frame that international physicians face as they apply for these visas. However, given the high turnover of staff in U.S. Embassies located in India and Pakistan, it is difficult to maintain the institutional knowledge and understanding of this issue needed to adjudicate the visas in the appropriate timeframe.“
The J-1 is a temporary nonimmigrant visa that international physicians use to work in U.S. medical residency programs, most of which begin next month.
Meng’s letter has the support of the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI) and the Association of Physicians of Pakistani Descent of North America (APPNA).
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