The Citizenship and Immigration Services Ombudsman has now formally proposed that new regulations be published that would specifically allow the spouses of certain international medical graduates (IMGs) to obtain independent U.S. work authorization. The proposed change would apply to those international medical graduates with J-1 visas who are receiving a waiver of their 2-year home residency requirement through the Conrad 30 program and would allow the IMGs’ spouse to change to any other non-immigrant status that they would otherwise be eligible and qualified for.
This recommendation was made in response to M+K Shareholder Jan Pederson’s request on behalf of a spouse of a J-1 physician, who had been granted a change of status to H-1B after the J-1 physician spouse obtained a Conrad State 30 waiver , but before the 3-year waiver commitment was complete. USCIS later revoked the H-1B petition claiming the spouse was not eligible for a change of status to H-1B until the J-1 physician completed the three year commitment. United States Citizenship and Immigration Services currently interprets the Conrad State 30 program’s statute and regulatory provisions as only allowing for spouses of the program participants to hold non-work authorized H-4 dependent status. We applaud this recommendation as the limitations on the spouses of international medical graduates to accept outside employment can often make the decision to remain in the U.S. a more difficult one. The Conrad State 30 program is crucial to providing on-going medical support in otherwise medically underserved areas of the United States. . Jan Pederson and M+K attorneys are available for a consultation if you have questions about your J-2 to H-1B questions.