US Visa Rules Hinder Science?

Indian researchers argue that applying for new visas every year is an insult to international scientists.

Jul 25, 2011
Megan Scudellari

Ashwani KumarWORLD ECONOMIC FORUM, NORBERT SCHILLER

The current US visa policy, which requires scientists to get a new visa each year rather than one every 5 to 10 years, is hurting international scientists, India’s junior science minister Ashwani Kumar told US presidential science adviser John Holdren last Tuesday (July 19) during the second annual India-US Strategic Dialogue in New Delhi. Kumar expressed his concerns that the visa rules lead to a “bottleneck” and “a lot of hassle for Indian scientists,” ScienceInsider reports.

Chemist C.N.R. Rao, current science adviser to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, is one of those annoyed by the new rules. It is “very insulting to go through this on an annual basis,” said Rao, who is considering not traveling to the US anymore once his current visa expires. “India is getting screwed and roughed up by the Americans,” he told ScienceInsider.

In a bizarre twist, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced at the same meeting the launch of a new program to send more American students to India to study and intern, emphasizing the need for bilateral relations between India and the US in various fields, including research, the Deccan Chronicle reports.