The Effect of Sequestration to Basic Research Scientists’ Immigration
Sequestration is when mandatory spending cuts go into play when the Congress can’t cut a deal to reduce the federal deficit. This spending cut affects across all areas, both defensive and non-defense agencies. In the last fiscal year, less than 1% of the federal budget, $30.2 billion out of the total $3.8 trillion that President Obama requested, went toward funding research for basic science. With the onset of the sequestration, cutting back a 5.1% decrease in the already scarce funding across the board is detrimental to the non-defense research community.
With the $85 billion in cuts, the effects are probably felt the most at the national agencies such as the National Institutes of Health, the National Foundation, NASA, the Food and Drug Administration, the national labs, and the energy and interior departments. Then these cuts will trickle through the webs into the medium and small research facilities, and then to the individual scientists. NASA is facing an estimated $474 million in cuts to research and the National Science Foundation (NSF) is facing $283 million in cuts as well. The NSF’s calculations show that they will support 1,000 fewer grants in 2013 which translates to 1,600 fewer graduate research fellows and nearly 180 fewer postdocs. The National Institute of Health (NIH) funds about a fifth of all federally funded basic research at American colleges and universities, in fields ranging from biology to math and computer science. The agency’s $1.6 billion in cuts translates to about 20,000 jobs. – I’m not sure if you want me to include this statistics.
The impact will be dramatic for graduate students and postdoctoral researchers in the basic sciences. Many universities are admitting a third fewer students to its Ph.D. programs and many current Ph.D. students will lose their grants if sequestration continues. The immediate effects of the sequestration are starting to be felt in the field of basic scientific research. Organizations and companies have begun to lay off workers, while many more have decided not to fill the vacant positions. Since many grants are used to pay the salary of the agencies’ employees, many companies, organizations, and agencies are reducing their work schedules, closing their offices, and encouraging employees to take unpaid vacations to help them save money. Job security in the field of science would go down, prompting people to leave for the industry where they will find a job with steady pay. Even if these researchers try to find a job in the industry, there might not be enough jobs for them. Many industries and companies rely on universities and research facilities to back their product researches. The cuts will deteriorate the research efforts that ultimately fuel the industry product research and improvement. As this happens, it is very doubtful whether the U.S. can still be at the top in the world’s industries and it will ultimately affect the U.S. overall abilities.
This sequestration affects U.S. researchers as well as foreign researchers and would in turn, affect the immigration prospects. Many of the aliens work have employment-based visa such as H-1B visa. This means once they lose their job, their status will be greatly affected. And to get the employers to sponsor green card petitions is beyond difficult in the current economic situation. So the best remedy for these aliens is to petition for green card as soon as possible. Once green card is approved, then a job doesn’t dictate whether you have to leave the U.S. or not. However, it is very fortunate that many researchers have achieved some status in their individual field. Employment immigration routes such as EB-1A and EB-2 NIW don’t require the petitioner to have a U.S. job and don’t need employer sponsorship either. So if you are able to meet the requirements, then you should quickly submit a petition. Once approved, if you want to stay in the U.S., you don’t need a job to bring you that privilege. These two types of petitions have another advantage and that is the petitioner doesn’t have to be in the U.S. Many petitioners may not be able to find a job in the U.S., but there’s a lot more opportunities abroad. If you submit these two types of petition, you can work anywhere. With the lack of locational restrictions, the petitioner and their families have a lot more freedom to do whatever they deem best. So we think that in times of trouble and difficulty, the best thing to do is to plan accordingly. It’s best if you communicate with your lawyer about the best route to U.S. green card for your family and your situation and act on it.
FYZ Law Group LLP has successfully represented many educational/research institutes, private businesses as well as individual/families in legal immigration service. Our attorneys have more than 30 years of U.S. immigration law service experience. We specialize in scientific/professional employment immigration and non-immigrant visa petition such as EB-1A, EB-1B, EB-1C, NIW PERM, H-1B, L-1, and O-1. We have of offices in New York, San Francisco Bay Area, and Chicago. We are one of the few law firms specializing in immigration services across the United States. Website: http://www.fyzlaw.com
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