Skip to Content

Filter by:

Washington Highlights

Immigration Reform Proposals Could Help Aspiring Physicians, Researchers

November 21, 2014—President Obama Nov. 20 announced executive actions he plans to take on immigration reform, including some that could improve access to medical education for undocumented students and others that may ease the transition for immigrating physicians.

The president will expand Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) by eliminating the 31-year age cap and changing the 2007 entrance cutoff to 2010. DACA status also will be granted for three-year increments instead of the current two years. The president creates a similar status for parents of lawful permanent residents and U.S. citizens called Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA).

The AAMC has announced that students with DACA status will be eligible to receive financial assistance through the AAMC Fee Assistance Program (FAP) during the medical school application process, effective January 2015.

The president will also expand the F-1 Optional Practical Training program, which allows foreign students and graduates in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) disciplines to work temporarily in the U.S. in fields that will augment their educations (i.e., biomedical research).

The planned executive actions do not raise the cap on H-1B visas, but include steps that would make it easier for high-skilled workers and their spouses to change jobs while they are waiting for lawful permitted status.

Reportedly, the executive action is anticipated to include a new concept called “pre-registration,” which would permit foreign nationals with preliminary green card approvals to file for adjustment of status at any time, resulting in green card-based interim work authorization. This change, supported by the International Medical Graduate (IMG) Taskforce, will benefit immigrating physicians backlogged by per country quotas and those applying for green cards under a national interest waiver.

The executive action prohibits beneficiaries from receiving subsidies for health care under the Affordable Care Act. Additional details about the executive action are expected to be released at a later date.

Meanwhile, Rep. Grace Meng (D-N.Y.) Nov. 18 introduced the Grant Residency for Additional Doctors (GRAD) Act of 2014 (H.R. 5735) to direct the Department of State to designate an individual whose sole responsibility during the months of March, April, May, June, and any other period of time as determined by the Secretary, shall be to facilitate the expedited review of J-visa applications of aliens applying for U.S. admission to participate in a program under which they will receive graduate medical education or training.


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


envelope on a green background

Subscribe to Washington Highlights

RSS icon

Subscribe to RSS

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

Past Issues

For More Information

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