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Partnership on AI Calls for Visa Accessibility Globally to Accelerate Responsible AI Development

Policy Paper Provides Recommendations for Policymakers and the International AI/ML Community

San Francisco, CA, September 10, 2019 – The Partnership on AI (PAI) today published a paper to address the challenges experienced by the global artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI/ML) community in obtaining visas. Based on input from PAI Partners, AI practitioners, and PAI’s own research, this paper offers recommendations that will enable multidisciplinary AI/ML experts to collaborate with international counterparts. PAI encourages individuals, organizations, and policymakers to implement these policy recommendations in order to benefit from diverse perspectives offered by the global AI/ML community.

Today’s visa application systems have a disproportionate effect on those without the resources to hire experts or employ teams of people to navigate complex global visa processes – enhancing inequity seen across many dimensions of the technology sector and the AI/ML field. While multinational companies and well-funded universities are able to hire visa experts, resource constrained startups, students, and less affluent applicants lack the finances to successfully obtain visas.

“It is tremendously important to have international scholars be able to meet in person to discuss issues in technology ethics, especially in AI, which is transforming the world so rapidly,” explained Dr. Brian Green, director of technology ethics at the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics at Santa Clara University. “Visas have supported these meetings.” 

Global coordination and representation in AI/ML development and operations enhances outcomes for populations impacted by technology, enables critical insights, and generates safer, more effective, and socially responsible products1. In order to advance scientific understanding and create opportunities for global cooperation, multidisciplinary AI/ML researchers and experts must be able to obtain visas, and in a timely manner, to contribute their diverse voices to important international conversations.

“The AI Forum of New Zealand recognises the Partnership on AI’s significant contribution towards advancing the mobility of innovative global AI/ML talent,” said Ben Reid, executive director at the AI Forum of New Zealand. “While we recognise that immigration settings are complex and will vary from country to country, we are supportive of the PAI’s work towards achieving a balance between immigration policy and the benefits of international collaboration on AI.”

Visa Laws, Policies, and Practices: Recommendations for Accelerating the Mobility of Global AI/ML Talent presents nine policy recommendations to address challenges associated with visa laws and practices. The paper also makes specific recommendations for conference organizers and participants in order to facilitate international travel to these important events.

“Members of the global AI/ML community must be able to collaborate for AI/ML to flourish,” said Lisa Dyer, director of policy at the Partnership on AI. “As a global non-profit consisting of over 90 organizations, spanning 12 countries, and 4 continents, the Partnership on AI recognizes the imperative to improve visa laws, policies, and practices for the benefit of people and society.”

Read the full the policy paper at: https://partnershiponai.org/paper/visa-laws-policies-and-practices-recommendations-for-accelerating-the-mobility-of-global-ai-ml-talent/


  1. OECD (2019), 1Artificial Intelligence in Society, OECD Publishing, Paris.

About The Partnership on AI

The Partnership on AI (PAI) is a global nonprofit organization committed to the creation and dissemination of best practices in artificial intelligence through the diversity of its Partners. By gathering the leading companies, organizations, and people differently affected by artificial intelligence, PAI establishes a common ground between entities which otherwise may not have cause to work together – and in so doing – serves as a uniting force for good in the AI ecosystem. Today, PAI convenes more than 90 partner organizations from around the world to realize the promise of artificial intelligence.

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