Immigrant cancer researchers save lives, but face immigration challengesPublished: Wednesday, February 27, 2013 9:00 am
February 27, 2013. According to a new report issued by the National Foundation for American Policy (NFAP), 42% of the Cancer researchers at America’s top cancer centers are immigrants. Immigrants have thus played an important role in the significant improvement in cancer survival rates in recent years.
To conduct the research, the NFAP examined the biographies of approximately 1,500 cancer researchers at the top seven cancer institutes in the country, ranked by grants received from the National Cancer Institute. The immigrant researchers at the top cancer centers come from 56 different countries, with China and India leading the way, followed by Germany, Canada and the U.K.
The debate over H-1B visas has significant implications for Cancer research. Many researchers work in H-1B status at some point in their careers. If the conditions placed on H-1B visas become too restrictive, it could harm efforts to treat Americans afflicted with cancer. Not only would physicians be affected, but also research technicians, I.T. specialists and lab technologists, all of whom contribute to scientific breakthroughs as part of a team.
Cancer researchers, especially those from China and India, also face extremely lengthy delays in obtaining permanent residence because there are insufficient employment-based visas available to them.
The report’s author concludes that if highly trained cancer researchers must struggle to stay in the U.S., the employment-based immigration system is even more broken than previously thought.