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New visa rules for postdocs?

The linkurl:National Postdoctoral Association;http://www.the-scientist.com/article/display/13511/ is only four years old, but is already weighing in on serious issues in science. Last week, I received a linkurl:white paper;http://www.nationalpostdoc.org/atf/cf/%7B89152E81-F2CB-430C-B151-49D071AEB33E%7D/IPC%20WHITE%20PAPER%20letterhead.pdf from the NPA suggesting the US make changes to linkurl:visa requirements;http://www.the-scientist.com/article/display/53418/ for foreign-born postdocs. The gr

By | September 5, 2007

The linkurl:National Postdoctoral Association;http://www.the-scientist.com/article/display/13511/ is only four years old, but is already weighing in on serious issues in science. Last week, I received a linkurl:white paper;http://www.nationalpostdoc.org/atf/cf/%7B89152E81-F2CB-430C-B151-49D071AEB33E%7D/IPC%20WHITE%20PAPER%20letterhead.pdf from the NPA suggesting the US make changes to linkurl:visa requirements;http://www.the-scientist.com/article/display/53418/ for foreign-born postdocs. The group's suggestions: a) Eliminate the "intent to return" requirement currently attached to J-1 non-immigrant visas; b) Facilitate the ease of obtaining a new visa in the same category as the previous visa for international linkurl:postdoctoral researchers;http://www.the-scientist.com/2007/3/1/49/1/ if they travel to their home country; c) Raise the cap on H1-B visas for international postdoctoral researchers who have U.S. and/or foreign advanced degrees; d) Enhance enforcement of Department of Labor laws regarding prevailing wages as required by the H-1B non-immigrant classification; e) Allow spouses of international postdoctoral researchers to work in the U.S.; f) Establish a new non-immigrant classification specifically for non-immigrant international postdoctoral research scholars. According to the NPA, international postdoctoral researchers constitute a sizeable portion of US postdocs -- up to 50-72%. These researchers produce more peer-reviewed publications than American postdocs, the group contends. "This robust research productivity is at stake and could be lost, unless an outdated legislative framework is remedied. ' Alyson Reed, executive director of the NPA, told The Scientist associate editor Edyta Zielinska that the recommendations were sent out to the secretary of state and the secretary for the Department for Homeland Security, as well as the committee chairs of immigration reform. "We have no illusions that this went to the top of their pile," she says, but adds she hopes the document will raise awareness that "foreign post-docs are in a different situation" than graduate students, visiting professors, or scientists coming for a conference. Do you agree with the NPA's suggestions? Tell us in a comment.
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