India plans to stop issuing a certificate that allows Indian doctors headed to the United States for higher studies to work in that country, a report said. The Ministry of Health has decided that it will no longer give the doctors the certificate that says there is no obligation for them to return to India, NDTV reported.
The certificate is key to the doctors finding jobs in the U.S. Under normal circumstances, U.S. immigration laws mandate two years of home residency for doctors holding J-1 study visas. But when doctors have the “No Obligation to Return to India” certificate, the U.S. waives the residency, allowing them to apply for work visas and accept employment.
The Indian health ministry’s move is a bid to tackle an acute shortage of doctors in India.
According to the Jan Swasthya Abhiyan, a healthcare organization, India has an 81% shortage of specialist doctors, and a 12% shortage of general physicians. India has one doctor for every 1,800 people, three times higher than the WHO mandate of one doctor for every 600 people.
Dr. Naresh Trehan, a leading heart surgeon who for many years worked in the U.S., backed the Indian plan.
“All countries have this rule. India has been very lax in (implementing) it. Very few of us have come back and I think this should be an obligation that you come and serve your country,” he told NDTV.