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Cell biologists say immigration reform critical to scientific education and competitiveness
Date:5/2/2013

BETHESDA, MD, MAY 2, 2013Progress in American scientific research and reform in American immigration law must go hand in hand, the American Society for Cell Biology (ASCB) declared today in a position paper that outlines four recommendations for modernizing U.S. immigration policy.

"Despite having the best research and educational institutions in the world, existing US immigration laws serve as a significant hurdle for retaining the world's most promising scientists and for diversifying the US biomedical workforce and bioeconomy," the ASCB warned in a preface to its four proposals.

  • Restrictions on foreign travel by visa holders should be eased. The international nature of science requires that researchers travel abroad. Yet very often, travel restrictions on foreign nationals hinder opportunities for their professional advancement, including attending international scientific meetings or collaborating with international colleagues. This pervasive problem not only hurts training but also impedes scientific exchange.

  • Visa duration should be matched with expected training time. Many international graduate students first enter with an F-1 visa and continue into postdoctoral training with a J-1. But continued studies can require an H-1B visa but as long as two years outside the U.S. before eligibility for return.

  • The number of H-1B visas should be based on market demands. While H-1B visa applications are skyrocketing, the number of new visas has been flat. To remain competitive internationally, our research labs and other scientific enterprises need freer access to the global high-skill labor market.

  • Foreign students should receive green cards upon completion of their studies. The current system makes it difficult for those who are trained here to stay and be productive members of our society. Too often, U.S.-trained and -funded international students must return to their home country to co
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Contact: Kevin Wilson
kwilson@ascb.org
301-347-9308
American Society for Cell Biology
Source:Eurekalert

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