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Around 300 academics and clinicians have been killed in Iraq since the coalition invasion in 2003, although it is unclear why they are being targeted.

Yet those who escape the death threats face unsympathetic immigration authorities while they seek asylum in the United Kingdom and the United States, reports Jim Giles.

Even if they manage to overcome the legal obstacles to stay and work, they often find their qualifications are considered obsolete, and breaking into the academic community remains tough.

After Iraq invaded Kuwait in 1990, Iraqi universities were isolated by sanctions, so even the most talented of academics will not have built up the reputation required to compete for jobs.

The UK-based Council for Assisting Refugee Academics says academic refugees "represent the core of their country's scientific and cultural capital".

The organisation has helped academics with accommodation and maintenance grants, as well as legal advice. But these academics need the opportunity to maintain and develop their skills and expertise.

Link to full article in Nature