Receiving a waiver of the two-year home residency requirement is just the first step in a two-step visa sponsorship process for all J-1 candidates, as it does not grant work authorization. After the waiver approval, the employer must then file a separate immigration petition with USCIS to change the physician’s visa status from J-1 to H-1B. The purpose of the H-1B petition is to authorize the physician’s employment.
The H-1B sponsorship requirements impose a number of responsibilities on the employer, which include meeting the prevailing wage rate for similarly employed physicians in the employer’s geographic area. In addition, the employer must maintain certain stipulated documents about the conditions of employment and employment verification in a file that must be produced on demand.
The physician’s H-1B status will be valid for an initial period of three years, allowing the physician to complete his or her mandatory three-year service obligation under the terms of the J-1 waiver with the sponsoring employer, unless rare and “extenuating” circumstances — such as practice closure — exist. If the physician cannot demonstrate extenuating circumstances and chooses to leave the employment, the physician will be re-subject to the two-year home residency requirement.
Read more here about immigration options for physicians. If you are an IMG physician or employer in need of assistance with immigration issues, we welcome you to contact an immigration attorney at Sivaraman Immigration Law to request a consultation.