On September 13, 2012, Congress passed legislation that extended the Conrad 30 J-1 Waiver Program for an additional three years. The Conrad program provides a legal basis for foreign medical graduates ("FMGs") in U.S. residency programs to waive the foreign residence requirement that otherwise would require them to go home for at least two years at the end of their residency programs. Under the Conrad program, medically underserved communities in rural and inner-city areas are able to attract FMGs by supporting a waiver of their J-1 foreign residence requirement. Those organizations whose Conrad 30 waiver applications are approved can then secure H-1B status for the sponsored FMG and employ him or her in that status.
The Conrad program is limited. Each state may support only 30 FMGs for a Conrad 30 waiver annually. FMGs who are the beneficiaries of these waivers must agree to practice full-time in a medically underserved area for at least three years to secure waiver approval. After satisfying this commitment, the FMG is then eligible to apply for permanent residence if he or she otherwise qualifies for it.