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Small-town America feeling the pain of Trump’s immigration policies

 Rural areas in the United States are bracing for a doctor shortage thanks to a decision by the Trump administration to change the timetable for some visa applications.

Small towns across America, similar to Australia, rely on a transient medical workforce and a flow of doctors from around the world.

But with President Donald Trump and his administration now fighting in the courts to maintain a temporary travel ban against six countries, another (far less-known) decision threatens to slow down the arrival of new foreign doctors.

The change would normally be hardly controversial and is simply a tweak of the timetable for visa applications.

It is a procedural change for skilled workers on H-1B visas. The change is a literal suspension of what is known as “premium processing” where employers, for an extra $1,000+ fee, can choose to fast-track the applications of intended employees.

Premium processing can see an application approved in as fast as two weeks. Normal processing takes several months.

But with that option suspended, rural areas across the States are now fearing the worst.

It is estimated that the delay could affect thousands of foreign doctors hoping to practice in small-town America, where the need is the greatest.

It could also impact about 400 foreign medical graduates each year who join residency programs at American teaching hospitals.

Chris Johnson