Australian universities say US immigration ban will have major impact on research and collaboration

Updated Tue at 10:59am

Universities say Donald Trump’s immigration ban could have a major impact on research and collaboration.

An executive order signed by the US President last week restricted immigration from seven predominantly Muslim countries for 90 days.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull this morning said he has received assurances Australians with dual nationality will be exempt from the ban.

But Professor Brian Schmidt, a Nobel laureate and Vice-Chancellor of the Australian National University, said academics would inevitably be affected.

“It is such a globalised world, and when things like this happen within the United States, it affects everyone,” Professor Schmidt said.

“We have many people from these countries, so it just makes the ability to do business as usual within research and academia very difficult.”

Universities Australia chief executive Belinda Robinson said she is concerned for academics who are citizens from the affected countries.

“In any conversations that we have with the Government around this, we’ll obviously be drawing to their attention the concerns that we have about the potential impact,” Ms Robinson said.

“It’s a little difficult now, with the executive orders only having just been signed, [to know] what that impact is going to be.”

Australians directly affected by ban

Despite the Prime Minister’s assurances, some Australians say their travel plans have already been disrupted, and they want more clarity about who can travel to the US.

Author, engineer and TV presenter Yassmin Abdel-Magied, a dual Australian-Sudanese citizen an author, said the ban has already had a direct impact on her life.

“I was supposed to be doing a keynote address at a conference in Wisconsin in March, and I was supposed to be doing a keynote for a multicultural conference ironically,” she said.

“At this stage it looks like I won’t be able to keynote, but also I’ve been looking to do further study in the US, I’ve been looking to do further engagement in the US.

“I have done all sorts of stuff in the US in the past, but it doesn’t look like it’s going to be possible.”

Dr Fary Ahmadi, a Sydney-based researcher, Australian resident and Iranian citizen, said the ban caught her by surprise.

“I was really angry, I was angry that I didn’t see this coming,” she said.

Dr Ahmadi’s parents, who are visiting from Iran, were prevented from boarding a flight on the weekend to visit their son, a PhD candidate in the US.

“I realised that there is no chance for mum and dad to go, so it was a pretty emotional moment so they were all crying,” Dr Ahmadi said.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has asked Australian officials in Washington to lobby the US administration to exempt Australian dual nationals from the changes.

At this stage, the ban is set to be lifted in March.

Topics: university-and-further-education, immigration, donald-trump, united-states

First posted Tue at 10:53am

Author: milandaus

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