At universities across the United States, researchers have been calling for increased reform on H-1B visas that allow for companies and universities to bring in immigrants to work. However, the fiscal year is coming to a close at the end of September, beginning new regulations and guidelines for refugees, immigrants, and the amount accepted visas. With the current state of immigration, and the questions lingering due to the fast-approaching deadline, researchers across the US are scrambling to find ways to maintain projects and ensure their research is not stopped due to lack of employment.
Professors and researchers across the United States are becoming increasingly more worried about the state of the immigration system with regards to their projects might fare. About 55 percent of U.S. post-doctoral researchers in the life sciences are here on temporary visas, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges, which said in a statement that the administration's actions "interfere with their ability to complete their training and contribute meaningfully to the health of the nation." In addition, a number of DACA recipients are researchers in the life sciences, and universities are trying to find ways to ensure that their education and work does not dissolve with their immigration status.
Most medical researchers arrive on J-1 visas, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges. These work visas are issued to foreign nationals coming to the U.S. for a cultural exchange, with different categories including au pairs, researchers and physicians. President Donald Trump stated while campaigning that he hopes to remove the J-1 visas, although no effort has been coordinated yet. However, since the fiscal year is coming to a close, institutions are worried that Trump will make a move.
OUR VERDICT: As demonstrated in many previous incidents, immigration is vital for our economy and for our industries. The Trump Administrations ambiguity has frightened research institutions, and has created questions within universities across the U.S. about how to cope on this front. Although no work has been set in stone, the rhetoric has already made institutions unsure of the next steps in their research.