You are hereIs the U.S. Going to Direct Immigration to International STEM Talent?
Is the U.S. Going to Direct Immigration to International STEM Talent?
The U.S. House of Representatives is due to consider a bill that will ease immigration quotas for students and workers in science and technology, while also scrapping the so-called “Diversity Lottery” that, since 1990, has assigned green cards to qualified immigration candidates from any country by chance.
Rep. Lamar Smith, (R-Tx), Chair of the House Judiciary Committee, has written a bill whose goals, if not particulars, have broad bipartisan support: it would direct tens of thousands of green cards only to those foreigners who graduated from American universities with degrees in STEM,according to a report in the Washington Times by Stephen Dinan.
Rep. Smith writes in an editorial yesterday in Politico (9/19): "While we need more Americans to obtain STEM master's degrees and doctorates in the future, we could boost job creation and improve our economy in the interim by allowing foreign graduates of American universities to remain. By allowing employers to fill their talent needs with foreign graduates of US universities, they will be able to do what they do best: create jobs and expand our economy."
By some reports, foreign students receive half of all graduate degrees in STEM fields in the U.S.
"Behind the partisan maneuvering over details,” The New York Times reports, “there was notable bipartisan accord - rare in this polarized Congress - on the broad goals of the legislation: to offer visas so science and technology graduates could remain here and start businesses to create jobs." “Last week,” the Times report continues, "leaders of American universities sent a letter to President Obama and to Congress warning that the lack of visas for advanced science graduates was 'a critical threat to America's pre-eminence as a global center of innovation and prosperity.' Among those signing were presidents of Stanford, Harvard, Cornell, the California Institute of Technology and MIT. According to the university leaders, in 2009 foreigners made up about 45 percent of all graduate students in engineering, math, computer and physical sciences, and they earned 52 percent of all new doctoral degrees in those fields."