USCIS issued a policy memo to introduce temporary policy changes regarding the full-time work requirement for H-1B foreign medical graduates who have received a waiver of the two-year foreign residence requirement under section 212(e) of the INA through the practice of medicine with or based on the recommendation of an Interested Government Agency (IGA) or through the Conrad State 30 Program in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The memo also introduces policy changes regarding the provision of telehealth services by those foreign medical graduates.
Per the memo:
- In order to address situations in which an H-1B foreign medical graduate is temporarily unable to work full-time due to quarantine, illness, travel restrictions, or other consequences of the pandemic during the declared Public Health Emergency period, USCIS officers will not consider such a failure to work full-time to be a failure to fulfill the terms of the contract under INA 214(l)(2)(B), as a matter of policy.
- For those foreign medical graduates currently employed by an IGA or through the Conrad State 30 program, USCIS interprets current regulations to allow those physicians to provide telehealth services during the Public Health Emergency.
- Provisions relating to the full-time work requirement will apply to any lapse in full-time employment related to COVID-19 that occurred from the beginning of the Public Health Emergency on January 27, 2020, through the end of the Public Health Emergency. Telehealth services provisions will be effective from the publication date of this policy memorandum through to the end of the Public Health Emergency