State Distribution of H-1B Physicians

A study by Peter Kahn and Tova Gardin, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, sought to investigate the H-1B program, specifically in regards to physicians. According to 2016 data by the U.S. Department of Labor Office of Foreign Labor Certification (OFLC), employers in the U.S. were given certification to fill approximately 10,500 H-1B physician positions across the country. Further, in 2016, H-1B physicians went to work for 2,156 differing sponsoring employers.


Kahn and Gardin found that H-1B applicants represent 1.4% of the "active physician workforce." First, New York had the greatest number of applicants, with 1,467, or 13.98%. Michigan was second with 945 physicians, or 9.01%. Illinois was third with 826, or 7.87%. Additionally, North Dakota had the greatest percentage of the state's physicians made up of H-1B workers, at 4.7%.

The top three states, New York, Michigan, and Illinois represented 31% of all applications. 24 states had less than 1% of applications each.

The top 4 sponsoring employers with H-1B workers for physicians were William Beaumont Hospital, Bronx-Lebanon Hospital Center, the Cleveland Clinic Foundation, and Presence Saint Francis Hospital. These four employers represented 10% of all applicants.

As of 2015, 24.2% of active physicians in the U.S. were international medical graduates, according to Kahn and Gardin. The H-1B program and cap exemptions for certain employers have therefore helped these international medical graduates enter the workforce.

Note: Residents and fellows were included in the data. They are often admitted on a J visa instead of the H-1B.