In the final days of the Government's fiscal year, Congress passed Public Law 114-223, Continuing Appropriations and Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2017, and Zika Response and Preparedness Act. This act was signed on September 29, 2019 by President Obama, keeping the government funded and certain programs in place through December 9, 2016. As part of this law, the Religious Worker, Conrad 30 Waiver, EB-5 Immigrant Investor, and E-Verify programs have been extended until December 9, 2016. Absent Congressional action, each of these programs would have expired at midnight on September 30, 2016. Congress will likely address longer term extensions for these programs in the next two months as part of the larger funding bills to keep the government funded through the balance of Fiscal Year 2017. We will bring you additional updates on these programs in future editions of our newsletter.
USCIS and the Department of State ("DOS") Waiver Review Division will host a teleconference on Thursday, September 8, 2016 regarding the Conrad 30 Waiver Program. This waiver program permits J-1 foreign medical graduates who would otherwise be subject to the two-year home residency requirement to apply for a waiver if they meet the program eligibility criteria. Conrad Waivers are limited in number and are available through sponsorship by state health departments. To be eligible for the waiver, the J-1 medical doctor must agree to be employed full-time in H-1B nonimmigrant status at a health care facility located in an area designated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services ("HHS") as a Health Professional Shortage Area ("HPSA"), Medically Underserved Area ("MUA") or a Medically Underserved Population ("MUP"), obtain a no objection letter from his/her home country if the home government funded the J-1 exchange program, and begin the employment pursuant to a contract at a health care facility designated by HHS as a HPSA, MUA or MUP within 90 days of receipt of the waiver.
The teleconference will include an overview of the program, followed by USCIS officials answering non-case specific questions that were submitted in advance. DOS officials will also be on hand to answer non-case specific questions. Finally, the teleconference will include a listening session for taking feedback and suggestions for the program. To register for the program, visit the USCIS registration page.