Changes to Visa Program Put Foreign-Born Doctors in Limbo
Just a few months ago, the future appeared promising and certain for Dr. Sunil Sreekumar Nair. A citizen of the United Kingdom, he was completing his residency in internal medicine at a Brooklyn hospital, and he had accepted a job in a hospital near Fort Smith, Arkansas, a rural area with a severe shortage of doctors. Hospitals in distressed urban neighborhoods also rely on foreign-born medical school graduates to fill medical residencies that might otherwise go vacant. “Who else is going to do the work if we lost them?” asked Conrad Fischer, the medical residency program director at Brookdale University Hospital and Medical Center in Brooklyn, New York, where Nair is chief medical resident. “We would have to close down.” This year, for the first time in five years, the number of applicants for H-1B visas dipped below 200,000. However, immigration experts say it’s too soon to attribute that drop to Trump’s policies or anti-immigrant and refugee rhetoric in the U.S.
NYMC Faculty: Conrad Fischer, M.D., adjunct associate professor of medicine