Conrad 30, Religious Worker & EB5 Program Temporary Extensions16 Oct 2009
President Obama signed a continuing resolution on October 1, 2009, temporarily extending funding for the Conrad 30 program for physicians, the non-minister immigrant religious worker category and EB5 immigrant investor pilot programs until October 31, 2009.
Regular readers of MurthyDotCom may recall that these programs were previously extended until September 30, 2009, as noted in our March 27, 2009 NewsBrief, Conrad-30 Investor Pilot Program and Religious Worker Extensions. Funding for these programs for an additional three years is contained in pending appropriations legislation, which is in process as of this writing.
Conrad 30 Program Extended
The Conrad 30 (or Conrad State) Program was created in 1994 to provide a waiver of the two-year home residency requirement for international medical graduates (IMGs) in J-1 status. The program provides each participating state with 30 waiver slots for J-1 physicians who agree to serve in medically underserved areas for three years. A detailed discussion of the Conrad 30 Program is available on MurthyDotCom in our article, Congress Extends the Conrad State Program until June 1, 2008 (16 Mar 2007).
EB5 Investment Visas Alternative Still Viable
As explained in the March 27, 2009 article cited above, the EB5 Immigrant Investor Pilot Program targets special regional centers around the United States for additional foreign investment. One of the major advantages of this pilot program is that the requirement to create ten jobs has been modified. Under the normal EB5 process, ten jobs must be created directly from the intending immigrant’s investment. Under the pilot program, these ten jobs may be created indirectly. The EB5 visa may be a workable alternative for business people looking to make investments in the United States. A discussion of the EB5 visa program can be found on MurthyDotCom in our article, EB5 Investor Must Satisfy All Legal Requirements (14 Mar 2008).
Religious Worker Program Extended
The President’s action has also extended the Non-Minister Immigrant Religious Worker category, which otherwise would have been allowed to sunset. This immigrant visa category provides an avenue for obtaining lawful permanent residence (green card) status to certain religious workers who have been employed by a religious organization for at least two years. A detailed discussion of this program was included in our August 15, 2003 MurthyDotCom NewsBrief entitled Religious Workers Provisions ‘Sunset.’
President Obama’s approval of this continuing resolution also provided funding to continue the E-Verify program of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). This program was explained in our July 17, 2009 MurthyDotCom NewsBrief, DHS to Withdraw No-Match Rule.
The immigration programs at issue, the EB5 Pilot Program, the Conrad 30, and the non-minister religious worker, are all valuable. The United States should continue to utilize the immigration system to attract those willing to make substantial investments and create U.S. jobs. Job creation of all types should be supported, whether it involves direct employment with the EB5 investor’s company, or the indirectly-created jobs permitted under the EB5 Pilot Program. The Conrad 30 Program provides medically underserved areas with highly-trained physicians. Since the economy and health care are currently top priorities nationally, it seems only logical that these programs should be extended. We will continue to update MurthyDotCom readers on the status of these important and useful programs.