Ease Immigration Policies for Foreign Grads: Think Tank Urges U.S.September 21, 2019 10:27
Besides removing restrictions on H-1B visas, the United States-based think tank has urged the Trump administration to offer green cards to students with advanced U.S. degrees to boost the country’s effort to compete against China in new technology areas.
The Council on Foreign Relations has asked the Trump administration to allow foreign students qualified in Science, Technology, Engineering and Medicine (STEM) to work and stay on in the country to help retain its edge against China.
In a report authored by a team led by a McKinsey executive and a former admiral of the US Navy, the independent think tank said the United States needs to make it easier for foreign graduates of U.S. universities in scientific & technical fields to remain and work in the country.
It also said Congress should staple a green card to an advanced diploma, granting lawful permanent residence to those who earn a STEM master’s degree or doctorate.
Read: Indian Americans Support Dual Citizenship: Survey
The report, which has inputs from the former Google Chief Executive Officer Eric Schmidt, Yahoo founder Jerry Yang, Jim Breyer of Breyer and executives from Apple and Facebook, said:
The administration should reverse measures that have created new obstacles for many foreign students and foreign workers on temporary work visas, such as the H-1B.
The majority of H-1B visa holders are Indian nationals, who have traditionally moved to work on technology projects for American clients.
According to a report by the Congressional Research Service in December last year, more than 300,000 Indians waiting for a green card, which allows them to permanently reside in the United States.
After President Donald Trump’s Buy American, Hire American policy, the United States increased restrictions on H-1B visas. In the first quarter of 2019, nearly a fifth of all H-1B visa applications was rejected as against only 4 percent in 2016, according to the U.S. government data.
Recently, Trump administration initiated a new rule that favors candidates with U.S. master’s degree for its work permit. It is also about to rescind H4 visa, granted to the spouses of H-1B visa holders that permits to work in the U.S.
The majority of Indian national women are primary beneficiaries of the H-4 EAD (Employment Authorization Documents), receiving over 90 percent of the 120,000 visas issued since 2015.
The think said other countries, such as Australia and Canada, are using these developments to lure talent.
According to a survey of 400 American hiring professionals from big and small companies, 63 percent said they were increasing their presence in Canada, either by sending more workers there or by hiring foreign nationals, because of the U.S. immigration policies, the think tank pointed out.
Rajiv S Khanna, managing attorney at law firm Immigration.com, said technology is our only edge in the commercial world and if we lose that, we fall behind. In order to maintain and enhance this, we need a system to attract and keep STEM graduates.
Congress should pass legislation that allows immigrants to live and work in the United States if they can raise funds to start new companies, the think tank said in its report.
By Sowmya Sangam