Study Medicine And Immigrate To The U.S.
According to an American Immigration Council report approximately one-quarter of all doctors practicing in the United States today, almost 250,000, obtained their medical degrees in foreign countries. While Americans do study abroad for medical education, foreign-trained doctors are mostly non-US citizens. For those planning to pursue a career in healthcare and are interested in immigrating to the U.S. to join the foreign-trained doctors there, or even to Canada or the U.K., Caribbean medical schools might be an excellent option to succeed. One such Caribbean school is of particular interest.
Founded in 2004, the American University of Antigua (AUA) College of Medicine has acquired a reputation as one of the best Caribbean medical schools. AUA’s innovative, learner-centric and technology-driven curriculum for the MD program, is designed to address the acute shortage of physicians worldwide and specially in the USA. AUA welcomes all international students since one of its goals is to ensure diversity among its students.
Spread across a 17-acre campus, AUA is one of only three medical schools in the Caribbean to gain the distinction of being approved, accepted, recognized and accredited by a diverse array of international medical education authorities including: the U.S. Department of Education, the U.K. General Medical Council, the Caribbean Accreditation Authority of Education in Medicine and other Health Professions (CAAM-HP), and the Medical Council of India, among others.
These credentials allow graduates to apply for medical licensure, enter residency training (graduates are eligible to participate in the National Resident Matching Program (NRMP) and the Canadian Resident Matching Service (CaRMS)) and participate in clinical training in teaching hospitals. With a network of 40 affiliated hospitals in the U.S. and Canada, students at AUA have the competitive advantage of acquiring residency placements and clinical experience through U.S. clinical rotations, even in world-renowned programs such as at the Mayo Clinic, Cleveland Clinic, Massachusetts General, Brown University-Rhode Island Hospital, Yale-New Haven Hospital and the University of Toronto, among many other prestigious institutions. The school’s pass rate for the United States Medical Licensing Examination, the most important licensing exam for medical students in the U.S., was 96 percent in 2017.
The American University of Antigua offers a four-year program – a two-year basic sciences component and two years in clinical rotations. It also has a pre-med program through an agreement with the American International College of Arts and Sciences – Antigua, which gives qualified high school graduates the opportunity to complete pre-medical school prerequisites in less than two years.
The U.S. market has numerous opportunities for foreign-trained doctors. The country is already experiencing a shortage of doctors in rural areas, inner cities, disadvantaged communities and, even, under-served urban hospitals. Recent studies show that the shortage may reach between 46,000 and 90,000 doctors by 2025. And this is where foreign-trained doctors can play a crucial role – they are more likely to practice in underprivileged areas than U.S.-trained doctors. A significant percentage of foreign-trained doctors practice in geriatrics, endocrinology, internal medicine, oncology, and cardiology – important medical fields. There are areas all over the United States where at least half of the doctors are foreign trained.
Any doctor who wishes to practice medicine in the United States must complete an accredited residency program in the United States or Canada. Graduates accepted into a residency program in the United States must obtain a visa that permits medical training. It is typically a J-1 visa for foreign medical graduates. A J-1 visa allows completing medical training for up to seven years. An accompanying spouse and unmarried children under 21 will qualify for J-2 visas. However, the J-1 visa often has a two-year home residence condition, implying that these visa J-1 visa holders must return to their home country to work for two years before applying for another U.S. visa or legal permanent residence.
Those who wish to stay in the U.S. upon completion of their visitor exchange program, may apply for a waiver of the two-year residence requirement through the Conrad 30 Waiver program. Each state has its own application rules, but the principal eligibility terms are to agree to be employed full-time in H-1B non-immigrant status at a health care facility located in a designated medically under-served area and to obtain a contract from the healthcare facility located in such area. Once the waiver recipient has fulfilled all the terms and conditions imposed on the waiver, he or she will become eligible to apply for permanent resident status. In the case of those who wish to return to the U.S. after their home residence period expires, applicants often seek an H-1B (temporary skilled non-immigrant) or, in some cases, L-1 (intra-company transferee) work visas and thereafter eventually apply for permanent residence. In some instances, applicants use investment as a means of acquiring U.S. residence, such as through the EB-5 program.
Those who wish to immigrate to other countries, such as Canada or the U.K., access immigration programs there to acquire status. Immigration attorneys can help settle these matters for such clients.