BELLINGHAM, Wash., May 23 -- The US government should accelerate its effort to reform the visa process for international students, scholars and researchers, said SPIE (International Society for Optical Engineering) in a May 18 joint statement from 40 engineering, scientific and academic associations, including the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Association of American Universities and the National Academy of Sciences.
Building on a joint statement issued last year, the groups said progress has been made during the past year but additional steps are needed to dispel the misperception that the US does not welcome international visitors.
Eugene G. Arthurs, executive director of SPIE, said, "SPIE leadership recognizes the value of the free-flow of appropriate technical knowledge. The relationships built through international meetings and scientific exchange programs are beneficial not only to science, but to global understanding. We are pleased that the improvements in the US visa issues since our earlier statement of 2004 have made the interchange of knowledge easier, but as described in our joint statement, more needs to be done. The U.S. science and engineering community welcome scientists and engineers from all corners of the globe and are eager to gain knowledge from our foreign colleagues."
The complete joint statement can be viewed at: www.spie.org/Announcements/CommunityVisa05.pdf