National Interest Waiver Attorney Thomas J. Arkell Empowers International PhD Students and Postdoctoral Researchers

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Thomas J. Arkell, the creator of NationalInterestWaivers.com, spoke today about the importance of immigration to business innovation in the United States. With the recent news of President Trump’s travel ban - which restricts entry to foreign nationals from seven countries - the topic is top of mind for many. And according to Arkell, it should be.

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At a time when sentiments about immigrants have proven divisive, the story of highly-talented, professionals coming to the United States to help this country become even stronger is one that everyone should support.

Thomas J. Arkell, the creator of NationalInterestWaivers.com, spoke today about the importance of immigration to business innovation in the United States. With the recent news of President Trump’s travel ban - which restricts entry to foreign nationals from seven countries - the topic is top of mind for many. And according to Arkell, it should be.

“It’s no secret that individuals from other countries helped found companies such as Google [Sergey Brin], Yahoo [Jerry Yang], and Intel [Andrew Grove],” Arkell explained. “If brilliant people choose to immigrate to other countries because the immigration system in the United States is too cumbersome, then our national economy will suffer.”

The travel ban makes it more difficult for citizens from Iran, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Syria, Venezuela, and Yemen to travel to America. However, there are still ways for especially qualified individuals to gain entry. One method in particular deserves special attention, says Arkell, particularly in light of the Trump administration’s emphasis on drawing the “best and brightest” from the world over to the US - the National Interest Waiver.

A National Interest Waiver petition allows foreign nationals to bypass the U.S. labor certification process ordinarily required to obtain a green card through the EB-2 employment-based immigration category. The National Interest Waiver provides a unique route for talented individuals to become permanent residents and earn their green cards. Acquiring a green card through the NIW category allows a qualified PhD student or postdoctoral researcher to more freely travel for conferences and presentations, obtain better grants and funding, acquire security clearance, and access a wider selection of roles and jobs within their field. The category allows qualified PhD students to secure their green card before they graduate, opening up additional career options and further aiding in their job search.

Arkell has already helped many talented professionals through the process, such as Dr. Swarnamali Indumathie Rupassara. A Sri Lankan native, Dr. Rupassara is currently helping to revolutionize the world of vaccines with an edible, orally-administered fruit-based treatment for Human Respiratory Synctial Virus (RSV). This will be the first of many developed by her startup, FruitVaccine.

Before engaging in this groundbreaking research, Dr. Rupassara decided to leave South Asia to pursue her PhD at the University of Illinois. She sought Arkell’s services to help her obtain a National Interest Waiver and permanent residency in the U.S. Everything was going well until the night before her appointment with U.S. Immigration authorities when a terrible blizzard hit,, she lost visibility on her way to Indianapolis and her card got stuck in a snowbank.

“I was worried I’d miss my appointment, so I called Tom,” explains Dr. Rupassara. “He not only worked quickly to pinpoint my location and arrange for a towing company to assist me, but also managed to reschedule my appointment. I can never forget the help he gave me that day - I felt like he was my dear brother.”

Dr. Rupassara is just one of many individuals Arkell has helped through the National Interest Waivers process - all of whom have been taken aback by his heartfelt support and professionalism. For his part, Arkell firmly believes in the importance of well educated and highly skilled immigrants helping the United States at every level imaginable, from national interests down to the local community.

“At a time when sentiments about immigrants have proven divisive, the story of highly-talented, professionals coming to the United States to help this country become even stronger is one that everyone should support,” explains Arkell. “The scientists and researchers I represent conduct cutting-edge cancer research, perform pediatric heart surgery and save people’s eyesight, I am proud to help the best and brightest from all over the world to become permanent residents of this country so they can help this country become even better.”

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