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* US Citizen/ GC Holder Residency Petition Campaign:
  thegreatgambler - 11/26/09 23:49

Dear Sir/Madam,

I am a US Citizen/US permanent resident who possesses an MD degree from a foreign country. In order to start residency training in the USA we have to sit for a series of exams called the USMLE. Once we pass, we are certified by the ECFMG and are issued an ECFMG certificate which makes us eligible to apply for residency. ECFMG certification is issued regardless of scores (passing is sufficient) , number of attempts on each exam, years since graduation from medical school etc. However when we apply to residency programs they follow the above criteria based on the USMLE transcript. While this may be okay in some people’s view it inadvertently leaves US permanent residents and citizens like me out of training as most people who are hired are foreigners who are sponsored for J1 and H1B visas. There is ample evidence to show that foreign nationals that score higher on these exams do so due to inappropriate access that they have to question banks back in their countries where exam laws are much more lenient.

The reality is that getting high scores or any other criteria that these programs are using are not a good measure of a candidate’s competency or potential. That is why the ECFMG does not have those restrictions when issuing a certificate. The bottom-line is that if you pass the necessary exams you are deemed suitable to get into residency training. Otherwise the ECFMG should have placed extra restrictions in getting certified.

All residency programs are funded by the federal government and such funding should benefit the local citizens and permanent residents before it does foreign workers. (This is consistent with President Obama’s H1B restriction for TARP funded programs) However, these residency programs sponsor them for H1B and J1 visas excluding local citizens by showing irrational reasons to get around Department of labor guidelines. The result of this is thousands of qualified Permanent resident medical doctors being left jobless.

The hospitals argue that foreign workers are needed to serve in underserved areas in the USA. This is nothing but a mere myth since almost all of the permanent resident physicians who are currently jobless are more than willing to go to these underserved areas. Furthermore serving in an underserved area is used as a tool to gain future permanent residence (via labor certification). Once these physicians are granted their green card they leave these underserved areas to go and fulfill their own financial ambitions in big cities.

The reason for this petition is to ask the Dept of labor to follow examples set by countries like Britain and Canada where the local citizens have been placed first. No foreign doctor is allowed to be hired for training positions until the pool of local citizens are totally exhausted. They have a similar exam to the USMLE called the PLAB. Where passing is all you need to prove yourself competent. All other criteria are totally ignored. Thus the local doctors are given the highest preference which is nothing but the right thing to do. Therefore we would like the DOL to take action to preserve the rights and the jobs of US citizens and Permanent residents and not let foreign workers take away our livelihood. We request the following.

A pool of ECFMG certified candidates who are permanent residents/Citizens should be made

When hospitals hire candidates they should first hire from applicants who are from this pool (regardless of scores, attempts, graduation year etc)

No foreign worker maybe hired unless this pool is totally exhausted.

Regular H1B and J1 hiring practices (reduction in recruitment) should not apply when hiring people for residency programs since these are FEDERALLY funded programs.

This is the only way to ensure that local doctors are given the jobs that they deserve.
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