The United States Department of State announced on 4 June 2009 that it is speeding up the visa process for graduate students and researchers, in order to address the growing backlog of visa applications. This is good news for the many universities and scientific organizations that often rely upon foreign science and engineering graduates. Many of these institutions lodged complaints last year, fearing that scientists and students kept waiting too long would look for positions elsewhere. However, amid the recession, many lawmakers have been lobbying for fewer temporary visas for foreign specialty workers (H1-B visas), in order to preserve more jobs for domestic workers in high-tech fields. Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, John Holdren, praised the change, noting that “it is more important than ever that we remove unnecessary impediments to collaborative innovation and technical advancement.”


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