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Policy

Urgency For Visa Reform

March 9, 2009 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 87, ISSUE 10

IT IS GOOD that the National Academies has spoken about the issue of visa rules and also made some great recommendations in terms of how they should be implemented (C&EN, Jan.12, page 31). The U.S. must revise and soften its visa rules for highly qualified doctoral degree holders so that science can continue to develop.

Current temporary rules apply to everyone and impose costs, waiting time, and lotteries, resulting in instability and frustration. These rules make some international scientists questionable entities for the hiring institutions in the frigid economic conditions that currently prevail.

This message should be heard with other important issues being addressed by newly elected President Barack Obama, and new rule-making should be supported by other scientific and granting institutions.

Santhosh Challa
Baton Rouge, La.

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