Though there is a shortage of qualified doctors in America, American makes it very difficult for qualified foreign doctors to work. Most foreign doctors, whether trained in the US or abroad, must struggle to work longer than the few years allowed under a J-1 temporary visa: they must obtain a waiver from the two year home residency requirement – a provision attached to the J-1 medical trainee visa – and then apply for a green card. In order to get this residency requirement waived, obtain longer-term stability, and not disrupt the lives of their families or the progress of their careers, they must go through an arduous process.
Often times, the only option they have is to commit and practice 5 years in an underserved area with a meager salary and to forego opportunities for advancement; such a decision can affect their financial and professional prospects for the rest of their lives. This is a poor reward for those foreign doctors who wish to provide much-needed healthcare to Americans.