Shortage of biologists?! Need YSN contact for protest.

SCHLOSSER at ciit.org SCHLOSSER at ciit.org
Fri May 28 08:38:00 EST 1993


[...]

>In Eure,e, going abroad for a postdoc is regarded as an important part of a
>science career and for the developement of science itself. Please do
>nothing to prevent this from continuing. Why don't jobless US PhDs apply
>for a postdoc in Europe?

I think that the point is being missed here.  We aren't talking about
temporary visiting scientist/postdoc positions, we are talking about
permanent immigration/employment.  Do not European countries require
that their own citizens, if equally qualified, be given preferential
treatment for permanent employment?  We aren't trying to raise additional
barriers or stop scientific exchange.  The current US policy allows
foreign scientists to visit or relocate permanently, but with some
'checks' to be sure that qualified US citizens are given a chance, and,
especially for permanent (or long-term) hires, the policy requires that
a foreigner should have unique or special skills which aren't readily
available among unemployed US scientists.  It seems to me that this is a
pretty good policy.  What I object to is a completely 'open-door' with
little or no checks in place - which is what the proposed change would
seem to allow.  I don't think that any other countries with an employment
situation like the one we have here would allow such a policy.  Also, if
employment opportunities are so available in Europe, why is there such a
great number of scientists seeking to emmigrate to the US?

Besides the language barrier, there is also the distance barrier - being
so far from one's home & family.  Again, doing so on a temporary, visiting
basis is one thing, permanent relocation is a bit tougher.

I think that scientific exchange is a great thing and have enjoyed its
benefits myself - both in working with visitors from abroad and in 
visiting abroad.  But the key word here is exchange.  Is the European
job market as open to US citizens as the proposed change would make the
US market?  I think not.  Each country is interested in making preferential
opportunities for its own citizens - and rightfully so.  I have seen
advertisements for postdocs in Europe where at least some of the funding
is restricted to citizens of the country where the position is available.

So, I don't think that we should raise major barriers to scientific
exchange, but given the current employment situation (and many US
scientists do look abroad for employment - and still have a tough time
finding it) it seems inappropriate to open the gates to a 'flood' of
additional competition.  Let's keep a reasonable - not impassable, but
reasonable - system of checks in place.  As someone who recently completed
a postdoc, and wanted to find a place to 'settle down and raise a family'
in my own home country (and had a tough time finding a research position
that would make good use of my skills) I do object to the proposed CHANGE
in immigration policy, though I hope that opportunities for scientific
exchange - in both directions - will not be reduced.

Paul M. Schlosser
schlosser at beta.ciit.org



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