15 Sep 2009

CNMI Federlisation law may help doctor shortage says Health Secretary

11:21 am on 15 September 2009

While many leaders in the Northern Marianas are concerned at the impact of the planned federalisation of immigration, the acting Public Health Secretary Pete Untalan says it may help resolve a doctor shortage in the U.S. territory.

Mr Untalan says his department has received a lot of inquiries from off-island doctors as a result of the anticipated implementation of new immigration rules in the Commonwealth in just over two months.

These doctors may come to the territory through the J1 visa waiver category, which will allow them to work in under served areas in the U.S. with their families.

At present, foreign doctors who go to U.S. medical schools and are trained in U.S.-accredited facilities have to go back to their countries and serve there for a number of years.

But Mr Untalan says now, if they are willing to serve a medically under served area in the U.S., they will be allowed to do that through the J1 visa waiver programme.