This is a warning to all Canadian IMG’s planning to participate in the 2015 US Match with regards to the J1 Visa and the Statement of Need.
Most Canadian IMG’s falsely believe that getting a J1 Visa is simply a formality if they succeed in Matching into a US Residency program – this is NOT TRUE!
A requirement for the J1 Visa is that you obtain a Statement of Need from your country of citizenship which states that the specialty you Match into is needed in your country. What most Canadian IMG’s do not realize is that Canada sets a Quota for certain specialties for the SoN, and that they give the Statements out on a first-come first-served basis starting on Match Day.
Not only that, but last year Canada did not release their List of Needed Specialties affected by the quota until November 7th, almost a full two months after the US Match opened on September 15th. By that time most students have already started to receive interview invitations and it’s obviously far too late for anybody to change their application profile. I have spoken with other Canadian IMG’s who in previous years had the quota for the specialty they were applying in set to ZERO, effectively shutting them out before they even had a chance. Here is a link to the list that was put out last year:
My wife and I couples matched into Radiology this year and were denied the SoN by Health Canada and the Ministry of Health in Ontario on the basis that the quota of FIVE was exceeded for the whole country, and that there was no identified need for additional radiologists. This is despite the fact that a study put out by the Ministry of Health in Ontario identified Radiology as the specialty to be MOST in need through 2030. My wife and I spent an entire month fighting to get our statements having to prove that there was in fact a need by collecting emails from different hospitals in the province stating they had trouble hiring radiologists.
We were just two of many other Canadian IMG’s who were denied their SoN after Matching into very competitive medical residency programs. Do not let this happen to you, and do not take for granted that just because there was an unlimited quota for a particular specialty last year, there wont be a quota this year.
If you are reading this, please forward this message to all Canadian IMG’s in your program planning to apply to the US Match so they can have ample warming about this potential catastrophe. After all your hard work and sacrifice you stand to lose everything because of heartless bureaucrats and their political BS to limit the number of doctors that return to Canada.
Contact your provincial Ministry of Health and Health Canada and let them know this practice is grossly unacceptable and there needs to be change in the way the Statements of Need are administered and handed out. There needs to be transparency in how the quotas are determined (they don’t provide any evidence as to how they determine their numbers). There also needs to be ample time given to medical students to see what the quota is and to plan accordingly, not two months after the application period has already started.
Please please please forward this message and spread the word to your fellow Canadian IMG’s so they do not suffer the same fate from this flawed system.