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Department Tackles Visa Delay for Researchers


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The U.S. State Department has added workers and developed new procedures in an attempt to speed up the visa process for foreign graduate students and post-doctoral researchers. The backlog of applications for obtaining or renewing visas is so severe that students and researchers often wait for months before they learn whether they have been approved. The department will work to clear up the backlog so that it can handle routine requests in two weeks. Some universities have had problems filling slots in graduate and post-doctoral science and engineering programs because of the delay. The long wait also has led some researchers to look for work in other countries. The United States should support researchers from other countries who want to work here, says John P. Holdren, director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. "It is more important than ever that we remove unnecessary impediments to collaborative innovation and technical advancement," he says.

From The New York Times
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