Biden seeks to lure Russia’s best scientists to the United States

WASHINGTON – President Biden wants Congress to speed up visas for Russian scientists eager to leave their country amid Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, an attempt to speed up a brain drain that is already underway and further deprive President Vladimir V Putin some of Russia’s top talents.

An administration proposal sent to Capitol Hill as part of a larger package requesting $ 33 billion in war spending will suspend for four years the requirement that researchers applying for H1-B visas have a sponsoring employer, which eliminates one of the biggest obstacles for many applicants. to come to the United States.

The measure will only apply to Russian citizens with master’s or doctoral degrees in science or engineering such as artificial intelligence, nuclear engineering or quantum physics. Administration officials argued that such a move would have dual benefits – costing Russia and benefiting America.

The vast majority of such visas for the technology industry go to workers from India. About 1,800 Russians legally obtained permanent residency status each year before the pandemic based on an immigrant classification primarily reserved for excellent professors, researchers, and advanced professionals if they had employer sponsors.

Even with the latest proposal, all applicants would still have to meet other requirements, including a security screening process.

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