Biden Seeks to Lure Russia’s Top Scientists to the U.S.

WASHINGTON — President Biden wants Congress to expedite visas for Russian scientists eager to leave their country amid Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, an attempt to accelerate an already underway brain drain and rob President Vladimir V. Putin even more from some of Russia’s top talents.

A government proposal sent to Capitol Hill as part of a larger package demanding $33 billion in war spending would suspend the requirement that scientists applying for visas have a sponsoring employer for four years, eliminating one of the biggest obstacles for many coming to the United States.

The measure would only apply to Russian citizens with a master’s or doctoral degree in scientific or technical fields such as artificial intelligence, nuclear technology or quantum physics. Government officials argued that such a move would have dual benefits: It would cost Russia and benefit America.

The vast majority of such tech industry visas go to Indian workers. About 1,800 Russians each year before the pandemic obtained legal permanent residency based on an immigrant classification primarily reserved for outstanding professors, researchers and advanced students, if they had employer sponsors.

Even with the latter proposal, all applicants would still have to meet other requirements, including a security check.


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