Chemistry without Borders – Immigration for International Scientists

Chemistry without Borders – Immigration for International Scientists

ACS Webinars: Career Channel

“Chemistry without Borders – Immigration for International Scientists.” A short presentation followed by Q&A with speaker Martin Lawler, of Lawler & Lawler.


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What should foreign-born scientists, technology entrepreneurs, and investors know to legally work in the US? How can one gain a path to citizenship as a scientist? Foreign-born scientists and scholars have and continue to contribute to the technical wealth and economic growth in the US. According to 2005 ChemCensus, about twenty percent of chemical professionals are foreign-born.  Learn from our speaker, Martin Lawler, of Lawler & Lawler, the various US immigration avenues available for scientific and technical professionals.

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What You Will Learn

  • Key evidence you can gather for winning green card cases
  • Trends and processing times from US Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS)
  • Tips for submitting visa applications at US embassies or consulates
  • Updates and changes in recent immigration laws
  • And much more…

Webinar Details

Date: Thursday, February 17, 2011

Time: 2:00-3:00 pm ET

Fee: Free

Meet Your Expert

Martin J. Lawler is a California immigration lawyer with over thirty years’ experience. He is the author of Professionals: A Matter of Degree, a treatise on business visas and permanent residence. The Wall Street Journal published two of Martin’s opinion page articles in 2007. Martin was a guest speaker on National Public Radio’s Science Friday program about visas for scientists. Martin has spoken at many universities including Harvard, Stanford, San Jose State, and San Francisco State. He is a regular speaker at AILA conferences including its EB-5 Investor Visa conference. He also lectured at the American Law Institute, the San Francisco Bar Association, Innovation Norway, among other venues. He chaired the AILA’s H-1B visa committee and is a member of AILA’s EB-5 Investor Committee 2008 – 2010. Martin is the recipient of the AILA Jack Wasserman Memorial Award for excellence in immigration litigation. He is Martindale-Hubbell A rated and listed in Best Lawyers in America, the Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers, and San Francisco Magazine’s Super Lawyers.

Meet the Moderator

Dr. Shikha O’Brien currently holds the position of Vice President of Business Development, US, at Dotmatics, Inc. – a scientific software and services provider for pre-clinical research data management and analysis. Prior to joining Dotmatics, Dr. O’Brien was at Accelrys where she held positions of increasing importance and responsibilities within the Life Science division of Accelrys, formerly MSI, including product management and marketing. Dr. O’Brien received her Ph.D. from Wayne State University, where she studied structural biology and biophysics.


This episode of ACS Webinars™ is sponsored by the ACS Committee on International Activities (IAC) and the ACS Office of International Activities (OIA). Learn more about our global outreach in chemistry at or contact OIA via email at

The Fine Print

ACS Webinars™ does not endorse any products or services. The views expressed in this presentation are those of the presenters and do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the American Chemical Society.

Learn the ABC’s of US Immigration – Watch the recording from Martin Lawler from April 15, 2010

14 Responses to “Chemistry without Borders – Immigration for International Scientists”

  1. Maria Yermolina says:


    I would love to participate in this event but how can I do it? I apologize for lack of knowledge but where it is going to proceed (I live in Chicago, IL), what location and what Webinar means?

    Thank you very much in advance.

  2. Matt says:


    With record unemployment among chemists why are you promoting the employment of foreign chemists in the U.S.? Last time I checked you were the American Chemical Society not the International Chemical Society. Other professional organizations such as the AMA and ABA watch out for their members interests why aren’t you doing the same? Why should I and other American born chemists continue to support the ACS when the ACS refuses to look out for our interests?

  3. Dave says:

    Ditto on Matt’s comment. How about we improve teh US employment situation rather than stoking the H1B visa mills, driving US unemployment and driving wages down.

  4. Felix says:

    Matt & Dave, speaking of supporting the ACS, I think you may not be taking into consideration that there are a lot of foreign citizens who are members of the ACS, and they pay the same amount as you do, so I suppose it wouldn’t be all that bad for the ACS to look out for their interest, for just a little bit.

  5. Felix says:

    And of course, this is not to mention the immense contributions that foreign citizens have contributed, and continue to contribute to science, and chemistry in particular, in this country.

  6. ed says:

    Americans with Ph.D.s in biomedical sciences suffer the same abysmal career prospects and unemployment due to open borders for foreign-born scientists. Politicians who are supposed to be watching our backs are actually legislatively in bed with US companies looking to down-size salaries and benefits packages by hiring foreign-born talent. I’m recently learning that its the same sad story with engineers.
    If the US can’t fill open positions with qualified scientists/engineers there is a problem with the educational system. Hiring foreign-born talent just puts a band-ade on the problem simultaneously allowing our educational woes to fester and compounding it with reduced incentives for students to go into those fields.
    Martin Lawlar there might be money to be made in your targeted clientele but are you doing the right thing by US citizens? Is your profession so immune to competition by foreign-born lawyers that you really don’t understand what the US scientific community is suffering?

  7. Bob Singler says:

    I agree with Matt and Dave. While there are always some exceptions, the ACS should be focusing its efforts on unemployed American born chemists and not international scientists.

  8. Bob Singler says:

    I agree with Matt and Dave. While there are always some exceptions, the ACS should be focusing its efforts on unemployed American born chemists and not international scientists.

  9. Irina says:

    To my American colleagues, part of my scientific community that strives for success and accomplishments with high quality, as a foreign-born scientist trained overseas and in the US, I would like to call your attention to the fact that the majority of American companies look for the best professionals independently of their nationality. The competition is, in fact, related to capabilities and competencies. However, there are still many that do not allow non-Americans to work for them or pay/facilitate for the Visa process. Let’s not make this a war between nationals and foreign but instead a way to bring the best individuals to our teams.

  10. Kim says:

    Q: I am starting my post doc at Harvard Univ from March 1st on OPT. I know the OPT can be upto 27 months,but I was adviced by my friends to get H1 visa. Is it advisable to finish my OPT time slot first, and then go for H1? or start the H1 process now.

    Q: Martin mentioned that post doc professionals cannot apply for ourstanding researcher/national interest. Can you clarify this point? Can he/she apply if there is a lot of publications and good references? Also can you guide a bit more through those E1B criterias.

    Q: Can a University sponsor H1-B/E1B visas during the post doctoral stay?

    Q: What are the typical costs for getting an immigration lawyer, such as martin lawler, for an application for E1B visa?

  11. Thomas says:

    Amazing thing is how descendants of immigrants desire protection from immigration. Most people here are from abroad, of have foreign parent or grandparent or grand-grand… just dig deeply. :)

  12. Kausik says:

    I agree with Thomas with all due respect for Matt and Dave’s view. Its not about nationals or countries. It is about overall improvement of quality and advancement of science. ACS has achieved an international status while promoting national interest. ACS’s best interest is advance science and bring scientific team in a collaboration so that everyone is helped.
    As of job market, it is open to everyone. The most suitable candidate gets hired the rest try again.

  13. Matt says:

    Interesting that when the U.S. was ascendent there were few foreigners in the scientific workforce, but now supposedly we can’t survive without them. Most of the foreign chemists I’ve interacted with aren’t anymore talented than the American born chemists that I know. I wonder how many of the responders to my initial comment are foreigners or academics who have lifetime employment and aren’t under any pressure from foreign competition. ACS is a joke of an organization mostly run for academics for the benefit of academics. There is a special visa for foreigners who display exceptional ability, most of the foreigners who work in the U.S. are not exceptional. Thomas your comment is a crock. You think because our ancestors were immigrants many generations ago that somehow entitles everybody to admission to the U.S. A nation without borders ceases to be a nation. My ancestors fought and bled for this nation, so yeah that gives me precendent over carpet baggers who come here for economic reasons. And spare me the racist/xenophobe comments because I could care less. I’m an unapologetic nationalist. Try getting employment in other citizens as a non-citizen and see how far you get. America for Americans, all you One-Worlders can put that in your pipe and smoke it. Got to agree with Ed as well about this opportunistic lawyer.

  14. Roberto Marin says:

    Isolation and protectionism is harmful for any society. Some European nations including Germany, Austria, Switzerland and France to name a few have created new programs in which billions of dollars are invested to renovate their scientific work force and a key component of these programs is the attraction of foreign scientists. More interestingly is to know that Japan is following the same path. Should America close its borders to foreign born scientists and engineers, these engineers will go to America’s competitors. The best interest of America is not in closing borders to scientists and engineers, it is the opposite.

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