New restrictions on H-1B visa laws have caused a visiting professor at Bowdoin College to miss the first few weeks of the semester.
Varun Makhija, visiting assistant professor of physics, hopes to be on the campus by next week, The Bowdoin Orient reported.
Makhija, who has lived in Ottawa, Canada, for four years doing research at the National Research Council, is from India and has Indian citizenship, but completed his post-secondary studies in the United States.
“I have traveled to the U.S. every summer for conferences and stuff like that. It’s never been a problem,” Makhija said about the delay in the process of obtaining his visa in a phone interview with The Orient. “I suspect — I don’t know for sure — but my best guess is it has something to do with the fact that there’s just a lot of complications with immigration right now.”
Makhija attributed the delay to new regulations that require every applicant for an H-1B visa from India to undergo an additional, or “supplemental,” background check.
“It does not matter the profession — everyone who is applying for the visa has to go through this. It’s something the administration has called ‘extreme vetting,’” Makhija said. “This is not new for me, but for every other profession, this is a new thing. That’s my best guess for why there’s a delay, because the number of applications that these guys are processing now has probably skyrocketed.”
Scott Hood, senior vice president for communications and public affairs, told The Orient that faculty have been filling in for Makhija and will continue to do so until he arrives.
Makhija told The Orient he hopes to be on campus next week.
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