How the new immigration laws affect the dental industry

International dental graduates may be facing additional stress obtaining legal eligibility to work in the U.S., according to the California Dental Association.

President Donald Trump signed an executive order June 22 suspending new H-1B and H-4 visas until the end of the year, barring workers from seeking employment in the U.S.

H-1B visas are permits that allow U.S. employers to temporarily employ foreign workers. Each year, 85,000 H-1B visas are available through sponsorship or a lottery process.

"The biggest obstacle I will face is finding an employer who will sponsor my work visa," said Rahul Nagda, DDS, a 2020 graduate of the University of California, San Francisco School of Dentistry. "There is a lack of knowledge about H-1B visas among private practitioners and most are not willing to sponsor a work visa."

Dr. Nagda came to the U.S. almost three years ago from India. He received his degree in dental surgery, but still must obtain a legal permit to practice in the U.S. The dentist is considering moving to Canada, where he said the immigration policies are more beneficial.

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