Whether your facility has just become eligible to hire J-1 physicians or you’re an in-house recruiter being asked to hire a J-1 candidate for the first time, your task may feel daunting. Terms like “J-1 visa” and “waiver” can be intimidating if you’ve never gone through the process before. While we always recommend working with an immigration lawyer to manage the complicated parts, here are Inline’s top five pieces of information you should have when hiring J-1 physicians:
- They’re just as qualified as U.S. trained physicians. With all of the red tape U.S. born physicians cut through to become licensed, it’s easy to feel uncertain if an internationally trained physician had to meet those same requirements. Rest assured, these candidates wouldn’t receive J-1 visas without meeting U.S. requirements. While J-1 candidates graduated from an international medical school, before becoming eligible to work in the U.S. they must become certified by the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG) and complete a U.S.-based residency/fellowship.
- J-1 candidates are in it for the long-haul. Your J-1 candidate is required to work with your facility for a minimum of three years. This empowers you with more time to retain your J-1 physicians even once their three year requirement has ended. Post J-1 sponsorship, your physician can apply to change their visa status to H1-B or they can obtain lawful permanent residency.
- Your J-1 candidate can only work for you. Per the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations, J-1 physicians are only allowed to work for your facility while hired under a waiver and they must work a minimum of 40 hours per week. So while many physicians will supplement their salary and take on part-time positions, your J-1 candidate’s time will be dedicated to your facility.
- You need to apply for a waiver before hiring a J-1 candidate. It can be confusing knowing which responsibilities are yours and which are the physician’s. Your main responsibility as the hiring entity, is to obtain a J-1 waiver. This is what allows the physician to work for you instead of having to return to their home country to practice for two years. However, to ensure you’re filling out all of the appropriate paperwork and meeting requirements, we highly recommend meeting with legal counsel (we’re happy to recommend if you don’t already have your own).
- It doesn’t cost as much as you may think. There’s a reason J-1 visas are such a huge resource for community health centers. While there are costs associated with the visa process, it should never be a deterrent. Considering the cost of a physician vacancy can reach six figures, visa fees are a small price to pay.
There’s no need to stress over hiring J-1 candidates. While the process is different than what you’re used to, consider that almost one third of U.S. physicians are foreign-born. By utilizing visas, you’re substantially broadening your candidate pool. If you’d like to learn more about hiring J-1 candidates from one of our candidate sourcing experts, schedule a consult with our team.