In a March 22 letter to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS), the AAMC and four other higher education associations urged the agency to reconsider a March 3 announcement that it will temporarily suspend premium processing for all H-1B petitions for “up to 6 months” [see Washington Highlights, March 10].
In the letter, the associations highlight the impact of the suspension on physician faculty and researchers. The letter notes, “U.S. universities and their affiliated institutions, which adhere to a strict academic calendar, will be disproportionately harmed by the suspension of premium processing.” It continues, “The current backlog of tens of thousands of H-1B applications has caused universities – as well as their affiliated research facilities and medical centers – to rely on premium processing to ensure the timely hiring of faculty and researchers.”
The Association of American Universities and the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities led the letter, which was also signed by the College of University Professional Association for Human Resources and by NAFSA: Association of International Educators, in addition to the AAMC.
Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), and Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.), March 10 sent a joint letter calling on USCIS to “address its administrative needs without sacrificing support for this successful, time-tested program.” The Senators’ letter specifically notes the impact on the underserved communities, states, “Conrad 30 helps address this daunting shortage of doctors and has brought more than 15,000 physicians to underserved communities over the last fifteen years.” It also cites AAMC’s support of the Conrad 30 Waiver Program.