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Washington Highlights

House Sets Eyes on Immigration; Senate-Passed Bill Retains Physician Reforms

July 12, 2013—The House Judiciary Committee June 27 approved the Supplying Knowledge-Based Immigrants and Lifting Levels of STEM Visas Act (H.R. 2131), which includes several physician immigration reforms passed by the Senate on the same day. The “SKILLS Visa Act” is one of several bills the House committee has introduced as part of a piecemeal immigration approach in contrast to the Senate’s comprehensive Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act (S. 744).

The final Senate measure retains the Conrad 30 and Physician Access subtitle without amendment [see Washington Highlights, April 19].  Among other reforms of importance to teaching hospitals and residents, S. 744 would permanently reauthorize the Conrad State 30 J-1 visa waiver program, create three new Conrad 30 slots per state dedicated to academic medical centers, and improve the pathway to green cards for J-1 visa physicians.  The measure also establishes additional requirements for H-1B employers and additional fees on H-1B outplacements, including residency rotations.

The bulk of the physician immigration reforms were originally introduced by Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), and Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) as the Conrad State 30 and Physician Access Act (S. 616) [see Washington Highlights, March 22]. AAMC, American Medical Association (AMA), and American Hospital Association (AHA) are listed among the supporters of S. 616.

In the House, Rep. Ami Bera, M.D., (D-Calif.) and Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) June 26 introduced the companion bill (H.R. 2484).


Matthew Shick, JD
Director, Gov't Relations & Regulatory Affairs
Telephone: 202-862-6116


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Washington Highlights, a weekly electronic newsletter, features brief updates on the latest legislative and regulatory activities affecting medical schools and teaching hospitals.

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Jason Kleinman
Sr. Legislative Analyst, Govt. Relations
Telephone: 202-903-0806