By Photograph: JonathunderMedal: Erik Lindberg (1873-1966) - Derivative of File:NobelPrize.JPG,

Six Nobel Laureates are U.S. Immigrants: Outstanding Researchers!

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The Nobel Foundation awarded Nobel prizes to six researchers in the U.S., all of whom are immigrants.  It is self-evident that significant research and discovery is not and should not be bound by borders.  In fact, because immigration has been such a hot topic during this year’s presidential campaign, some of the Nobel Laureates have spoken out.

Nobel Laureate in Chemistry, Sir J. Fraser Stoddart, a native of Scotland, United Kingdom, immigrated to the United States and become a naturalized citizen in 2011.  He teaches at Northwestern University but has a historic career as in chemistry.  Sir Stoddart made the following comments during a recent interview:

I think the resounding message that should go out all around the world is that science is global … as long as we don’t enter an era where we turn our back on immigration. … It’s particularly pertinent to have these discussions in view of the political climate on both sides of the pond at the moment. … I think the United States is what it is today largely because of open borders.

Professor Duncane Haldane, Nobel Laureate in Physics this year, currently teaches at Princeton University.  As a native of the United Kingdom, he commented that the U.S. immigration process was a “bureaucratic nightmare for many people” despite the fact that the U.S. is one of the most desirable places for researchers to conduct and obtain funding for their research.  “There’s a tradition of funding very fundamental research without regard for it being ‘useful,’”.

To date, the United States remains in the lead with the most number of Nobel Laureates.  Of those Laureates, 40% are immigrants to the U.S. based on an analysis conducted by Stuart Anderson of the National Foundation for American Policy in June 2014.  Mr. Anderson largely credits the openness of the scientific community to immigrants based on the passage of the U.S. Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 (which removed discriminatory quotas against Asian immigrants) and the Immigration Act of 1990 (which increased employment-related permanent visas).

While some of the rise in indicators like immigrant Nobel Prize winners reflects an overall increase in the reputation and capability of American institutions and researchers post-1960, a greater openness to immigration helped make the United States the leading global destination for research in many different science and technology fields, including computers, cancer research and many others.

Other Nobel Laureates in Physics include Professors David Thouless of Yale University and Michael Kosterlitz of Brown University, both natives of the United Kingdom; Nobel Laureates in Economics are Professors Oliver Hart of Harvard University, a native of the United Kingdom as well, and Bengt Holmström of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, a native of Finland.

2016 Nobel Laureate U.S. Immigrants chart

Of course, honoring U.S. Nobel Laureates who are immigrants isn’t a new thing as there are plenty of articles that cover this each year, including this article.  It happens every year, when the Nobel Foundation announces it winners.  Invariably, the winners are immigrants who have moved to a new country to seek out better opportunities.

One of the categories to immigrate to the U.S. permanently is the Outstanding Researcher category. While winning a Nobel Prize is an automatic qualifier, a researcher who has at least three years of research experience may also meet any two of the six criteria below, in order to be considered for a fast-track towards a greencard by USCIS:

  1. Evidence of receipt of major prizes or awards for outstanding achievement
  2. Evidence of membership in associations that require their members to demonstrate outstanding achievement
  3. Evidence of published material in professional publications written by others about the alien’s work in the academic field
  4. Evidence of participation, either on a panel or individually, as a judge of the work of others in the same or allied academic field
  5. Evidence of original scientific or scholarly research contributions in the field
  6. Evidence of authorship of scholarly books or articles (in scholarly journals with international circulation) in the field

Curious about the Outstanding Researcher categories for a greencard or other categories?  Send us your comments or reach out!

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