3RNet Blog

Thanks for visiting the 3RNet blog! Blog posts are written by members, staff, and partners. If you have an idea for a blog post, or are interested in writing one, please contact Kristine Morin, Director of Communications and Marketing, at Morin@3RNet.org.


3RNet Information for J1 Candidates

Because J-1 physicians can provide care to underserved areas, 3RNet sees many J-1 physicians on our website, and we also try to provide answers for those interested in obtaining a waiver in order to receive H-1B eligibility.

J-1 visa status authorizes an International Medical Graduate (IMG) to do Graduate Medical Education (GME) in the United States. All J-1 clinical physicians – no exceptions – need to return for two years to their home countries following conclusion of GME.

Unless the two-year home residence obligation is waived, a J-1 physician is ineligible for an H-1B visa and/or permanent residence. Therefore, it is necessary to get a waiver of the two-year home residence obligation in order to get H-1B eligibility which, in turn, is the visa status that will enable an IMG to work as a physician in the United States.

States can sponsor waivers in order to get physicians into hard-to-fill placements where they will be serving the medically undeserved. There has to be an element of expanding the safety net.

How we support J-1 physicians

J-1 Waiver Information and Contacts

On our website, 3RNet.org, we have an easy-to-use guide that provides basic information on the J-1 waiver process. Called “Navigating the J-1 Waiver Job Search”, this guide provides basic information about the Conrad 30 J-1 waiver program including: why a waiver is needed, how the Conrad program works, and how states determine areas of need; timelines for the waiver application and job search processes; and an overview of who the J-1 Visa waiver 'players' are. Because the process is different in each state, our information is limited, but gives a good, basic overview of what someone wanting to obtain a waiver can expect and where they can find state-specific information and answers.

We also maintain a list of the J-1 contact for each state, which can be found here: https://www.3rnet.org/members/j1-visa-contacts.

Finally, many jobs on 3RNet.org are eligible (although cannot be guaranteed) for J-1 waivers. Our focus on jobs in rural and underserved areas across the country makes us a perfect fit in many instances for J-1 eligible jobs!

Partnering with ACP and Robert Aronson 

We also provide in-person assistance for J-1 candidates each year at the American College of Physicians (ACP) Internal Medicine meeting through a partnership with our friend, immigration attorney Robert Aronson, and the ACP. We exhibit at this event each year to promote 3RNet.org. In addition, Mr. Aronson joins our booth staff and provides 20 minutes in-person sessions to provide information and answer questions for physicians looking into this process.

We appreciate Mr. Aronson’s longtime commitment to providing information surrounding the J-1 process to both candidates and our 3RNet members! Thanks for all you do for 3RNet, Bob!

3RNet Members Supporting J1 Candidates

The strength of 3RNet is found in our national network of members. Our members are unbiased resources for finding jobs in rural and underserved areas and learning more about loan repayment programs or other incentive programs (like the J-1 waiver program) that are often used in rural and underserved areas. 

A great example of our 3RNet members supporting programs like the J-1 waiver program comes to us from our Michigan 3RNet member, Rachel Ruddock. Rachel is the Recruitment and Retention Services Manager for the Michigan Center for Rural Health. She serves as the 3RNet contact for the state of Michigan, and also currently serves on the 3RNet board of directors. Rachel shared with us information on a “J-1 Roadshow” she helped create, which provides information on the waiver process to J-1 medical students. Here’s more about the Roadshow, from Rachel: 

The idea to start working with J-1 medical students and residents came from realizing that many J-1’s are unaware of their visa requirements until it’s too late. I often receive calls and emails from frantic residents who need visa waivers. Unfortunately, it’s often too late for them to stay in Michigan or even the United States. In these cases everyone loses – the physician can’t stay here to practice and the U.S. loses a physician that could be providing care to rural and underserved communities. I firmly believe that J-1 physicians are an underutilized resource - especially in rural communities.

My office has a great relationship with an Immigration Attorney based here in Michigan. He’s my go-to resource for anything immigration law related. He and I often comment to one another about the lack of understanding amongst J-1’s as it pertains to their visa requirements. We agreed that J-1’s experience barriers to understanding their legal requirements for a number of reasons – 1. This information isn’t taught or provided in medical school or residency, 2. Access to Immigration Attorneys can be cost prohibitive, 3. Immigration law is complex, changes frequently and is not easy to comprehend.
As a result of our discussion, I reached out to the Canadian student organization at the medical school in which my office is housed. I asked the group if they’d be interested in having a presentation from myself and an Immigration Attorney. The group enthusiastically accepted and we held a session in the evening at the medical school for the students. They asked very detailed and specific questions regarding their individual visa situations. 
One medical student commented to me after the session, “I can’t thank you enough – this literally gave me a career plan. I learned about employment opportunities in rural Michigan and legal resources for J-1’s that I had no idea existed.” I even had students approach me who are interested in other states closer to their home province in Canada. I referred them to the closest state 3RNet member to discuss opportunities.
Based on the success of working with the medical students we plan to go on the road and visit primary care residency programs in MI that have J-1 physicians. We’ll present the physicians with information about working in rural Michigan and provide them with resources regarding their visas. The hope is that these meetings will spark an interest in rural medicine.

J-1 physicians who obtain a waiver through the Conrad 30 program can be a great addition to any rural or underserved medical practice. We’re glad we can provide education and answers to these providers interested in serving areas of need. And, we’re proud to showcase some of the work of our partners and members around this same goal. 

If you have questions about the J-1 process, please contact the appropriate 3RNet member or J-1 contact (which in some states may be the same person!). 

And, if obtaining a J-1 waiver through this process is a goal of yours, we wish you the best of luck, and of course encourage you to browse J-1 eligible jobs, for free, on 3RNet.org!

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