The Us Wants Your Best and Brightest

The US State Department and the Department of Homeland Security have just unveiled new plans that make it a little easier for international students to work in the US. The changes also aim to simplify foreign entrepreneurs who start companies in Silicon Valley. As you’ll see, this is a move that could help push the Obama administration’s innovation agenda moving forward.

The US is trying to make it easy for foreign STEM students to get jobs because it’s seen as a win-win proposition. Not only do the new immigrants boost the power of our universities, but they also fill an enormous need in Silicon Valley and other tech hubs.

As part of the Obama administration’s Economic Stimulus package, Vice President Joe Biden today is expected to announce plans to double the number of visas for high-tech workers from countries like China, India, and Russia, and perhaps even waive specific caps on tickets for these workers.

The move attempts to address a severe worker shortage in America’s tech industry. Demand for skilled workers has grown as companies have added jobs in Web 2.0, cloud computing, and security. But supply hasn’t kept pace with demand. In some cases, it’s because the economy is recovering so slowly that companies can’t find qualified domestic workers. In other instances, it’s because foreign workers are going home. After all, they cannot get green cards or other forms of legal immigration status.

The result is a job market that’s quickly getting out of hand. For example, take Web 2.0 companies like Google, Salesforce, and Yahoo! These firms aren’t just popular among young startups; they’re also hot among top engineers who are bringing their spouses and families along too and they’re hiring like crazy.

The US wants your best and brightest. However, China is more fast-paced in its pursuit of STEM doctorate graduates and is set to pass the US as the country that generates the most.

What’s behind the Trend?

Here are a few possible explanations:

The cost of education in China is growing. In 2007, the Chinese government established a policy to charge international students a higher tuition rate than their Chinese counterparts. For example, undergraduate science students pay about $7,800 in tuition and fees per year at Peking University, compared to $3,900 for in-country students, according to the school.

China is on its way to becoming an economic superpower. As a result, the country invested heavily in research and development in 2014 alone. It invested over $144 billion in R&D, and as it grows in economic power, it can draw more high-caliber researchers from abroad.

The Chinese government has also been working hard to make studying in China more attractive for foreigners by improving its visa policies, allowing for multiple entries into the country—and providing better working conditions for international students. Immigration reform remains stalled in Congress.

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The Us Is Still a Great Place to Do Stem Research

“The reason why people come is there’s loads of money for research, there’s prestige and status associated with being at an elite university, and the US is the place where a lot of the best ideas are generated. But after you come, there aren’t as many opportunities to stay, either in academia or industry. Also, if your spouse doesn’t work, it can be hard to get a work visa and stay here long-term. The immigration system is just so broken.” Linda Sax

The amount of money that international student can earn in the US is limited to pain-in-the-ass visas that don’t allow them to bring their families with them (except for H1B visas). In addition, it’s not easy for students to get a job once they’re here, and it can take years before they’re able to apply for green cards (which allow foreign nationals to live permanently in the country).

“The US needs more PhDs in STEM fields if it wants to remain competitive internationally,” says Stuart Anderson, executive director of NFAP and co-author of the report. “Our immigration laws make it very difficult for these students to obtain employment after they graduate. Coupled with the high cost of getting a Ph.D. at an American university, this is driving students abroad.”

What’re You Waiting For

In conclusion, there are many reasons why you should consider applying for the Best and Brightest program. It is a competitive application process, so it’s best to research thoroughly. After all, the country is looking for young talent and professionals with strong research skills; it could be your cue to a bright future in the US. 

This is a great opportunity for companies based in the US to recruit talent and experts from abroad. To reach out and better equip yourself with information, we recommend having a solid internet connection to get you through the process. Check out Smithville Fiber for incredible deals for your internet needs.