– Mashal Butt.
International medical graduates (IMGs) dream to give United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) which, is a licensing exam allowing medical students cum professionals to practice medicine (residency) within the U.S.
However, in the wake of the U.S. Presidential elections 2016, there has now been a wave of fear and uncertainty instilled within the medical students all around the world.
Arslan Mahmood, an M.B.B.S. graduate from Army Medical College (AMC) Rawalpindi, agrees with the notion of the fear element.
“There is an element of fear now and students are starting to think of a backup plan,” said Mr. Mahmood. “I have a friend who is scheduled to appear for USMLE exam next month but since the elections, he has now gotten himself a date for PLAB (Professional and Linguistic Assessments Board; required to practice medicine in the U.K.) exam too.”
Sohaib Khan, final year M.B.B.S. student at Dow University of Health Sciences Karachi, further extended the narration on the fear element by connecting it to President-elect Trump’s proposed strict visa policies.
“The (medical) students are much more worried about the impending new visa policies and not the residency programs as much,” said Mr. Khan.
Trump issued a policy paper on Immigration in 2015 in which he stated to make it difficult for non-citizens to get visas and to eliminate the J-1 visa program (a non-immigrant visa program for foreign youth to work in the US).
Heyyan Khalil, an M.B.B.S. graduate from AMC and pursuing USMLE, believes that medical students should not fear the impending new visa policy.
“I think the policies will remain the same by and large,” said Mr. Khalil, who is hopeful of a career in the US. “The immigration process might get a bit difficult but they will not stop giving immigration to IMGs.”
Mr. Khalil’s statement holds substance since the above-mentioned termination of J-1 visa program is no longer a part of Trump’s immigration policies.
Need for International Medical Graduates (IMGs)
Taimur Durrani, an M.B.B.S graduate from AMC, also believes that the immigration right to IMGs will not come to a halt.
“Trump as President-elect is definitely an obstruction for international graduates because of his xenophobic stance during the election campaign,” said Mr. Durrani, who is currently pursuing USMLE. “But, there is a shortage of doctors in the US and they rely on IMGs to come and occupy some of the residency seats.”
Trump also seems to identify the potential in international graduates. He tweeted the following tweet right after his aforementioned immigration policies surfaced:-
When foreigners attend our great colleges & want to stay in the U.S., they should not be thrown out of our country. – @realDonaldTrump. 18th August 2015, 10:42pm.
Mr. Khan believes that the students should take the present unsettled circumstances as “an addition to their resolve” rather than giving up because the U.S. healthcare system thrives on IMGs. Therefore, the best way to go about the present uncertainty is to be hopeful and not abandon any plans of pursuing a medical career in the U.S.