The Physician Immigration Handbook, 4th Ed.

The Physician Immigration Handbook, 4th Ed.

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Release Date 3/8/19
ISBN 978-1732027121
Length 454
Format Print
SKU 54-40

The U.S. immigration system has been in need of reform on a variety of fronts—from the challenges facing those in the country without documentation, to the need for fairer asylum laws, to often-inefficient processing of employment-based immigration benefits—and is crying out for common-sense solutions. Sadly, no immigration legislation has passed both houses of Congress since 2005, and the outcome of the 2016 presidential and congressional elections has exacerbated an already taxed system.

For physicians, several new government policies—both proposed and already implemented—can cause serious consequences and derail genuine attempts to immigrate lawfully to the United States. Because these changes largely are policy based—i.e., the government decided to apply the law differently than it had before, and were not created by regulation or legislation—they have escaped close public scrutiny leaving many affected individuals unaware of them or at least unaware of their possible impact.

The government’s most significant policy changes are referenced in relevant sections of the fourth edition of The Physicians Immigration Handbook; but because they do not apply narrowly to any single process, those using the book as a reference might miss the discussion. Here, we have decided to highlight a few key policy changes that have occurred since 2017, which may affect physician immigration.

The government’s policy changes largely are justified as implementing the Buy American, Hire American (BAHA) Executive Order, which President Donald Trump signed on April 18, 2017. BAHA directs all federal agencies that deal with immigration matters to review all immigration-related policies and regulations and to consider the effect of those rules and policies on American workers.

Under the new policy, USCIS officers are mandated to issue an NTA when the denial of a petition or application leaves an individual without lawful status. USCIS has been implementing the new NTA memo in stages; so far, it applies only to applications that have been denied, such as I-539s and I-485s, but broader implementation is planned. In addition, USCIS says it will delay issuance of an NTA for enough time to allow an individual to move to reopen the denied case in case an error was made. But the bottom line is that the consequences of a denial are greater than ever.

The consequences of the NTA memo make the other policy memorandum from the summer of 2018 even harder to swallow. Past USCIS policy required officers to issue a request for evidence (RFE) or notice of intent to deny (NOID) before denying a petition or application in order to afford the petitioner and beneficiary an opportunity to cure whatever defect(s) the officer found.

As immigration attorneys, we remain ever vigilant in staying apprised of the government’s policy changes. We continue to advocate before government agencies for changes to our nation’s immigration laws and policies that will positively benefit physicians and their employers.

Greg Siskind is a founding partner of Siskind Susser PC and is one of America’s best-known immigration attorneys. Siskind Susser ( has one of the largest health care immigration practices in the United States and represents many of the nation’s hospitals and health care systems across the country, as well as smaller health care employers, individual health care professionals, and other medical institutions.

Greg is a past chair of the International Medical Graduate Taskforce (IMG Taskforce) (, a physician immigration bar organization in the United States. Greg also serves as a member of the Board of Governors of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (

Greg is a man of many firsts. He created the first immigration law firm website in 1994 followed by the first lawyer blog in 1997. He also was the first immigration lawyer ever to grace the cover of the American Bar Association Journal. And he is one of the first immigration lawyers to develop artificial intelligence-based software applications for clients.

Greg has been practicing law since 1990. He received his bachelor’s degree from Vanderbilt University and his law degree from the University of Chicago.

Elissa J. Taub is an attorney in the Memphis office of Siskind Susser PC, where she practices primarily in the area of physician immigration. She has extensive experience with J-1 waivers, H-1Bs, O-1s, EB-1 extraordinary-ability petitions, National Interest Waivers, and labor certification–based green cards, as well as a variety of other types of immigration processes, including cases for individuals in the sports, entertainment, and fashion industries.

Elissa has authored many articles, spoken at conferences related to physician and health care immigration, and is regularly invited by clients to present on immigration matters. She is a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association and has served on its Health Care Professionals Committee. She also is an active member of the American Health Lawyers Association and the IMG Taskforce.

Elissa has been listed in the Who’s Who in Corporate Immigration Law for multiple consecutive years. She earned her law degree from Villanova University School of Law in Villanova, PA, where she graduated magna cum laude, Order of the Coif. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Washington University in St. Louis.