News / Economy

US Trying to Stop 'Reverse Brain Drain'

Bishop Gerald Kicanas (L), Archdiocese of Tucson, Arizona, speaks with House Judiciary subcommittee on Immigration, Citizenship, Refugees, Border Security, and International Law Chair Zoe Lofgren, before a panel hearing about reform of the US immigration
Bishop Gerald Kicanas (L), Archdiocese of Tucson, Arizona, speaks with House Judiciary subcommittee on Immigration, Citizenship, Refugees, Border Security, and International Law Chair Zoe Lofgren, before a panel hearing about reform of the US immigration
Meredith Buel

The U.S. Congress is debating how to overhaul the nation’s immigration system in an effort to get foreign nationals who earn advanced degrees at American universities to stay and work in the country to help the U.S. stay globally competitive.

Some are calling it a “reverse brain drain.”

Foreign students flock to American universities to earn master’s degrees and Ph.D.s in science, technology, engineering and math.



But many, like 25-year-old Yifang Wei from Xian in central China, may not be able to get a visa to work in the United States after graduation.

“Yes, I am very worried, very worried,” said Wei.

In 2009, foreign students earned up to two-thirds of the doctorates in physics and engineering awarded by U.S. schools of higher education.

Xiao Qin is from Beijing and is working toward his Ph.D. in computer science at Georgetown University in Washington. He would like to work for Google, Yahoo or Microsoft.

“Obviously, we prefer to stay here for several years, but if we cannot get any valid visa we have to leave,” he said.

The United States limits the number of foreigners who can seek careers in the United States, and critics say restrictive immigration policies hurt America’s ability to retain top students.

Representative Zoe Lofgren of California said, “While we once asked the brightest minds in the world to come and make their homes here, we now turn them away. Having educated and trained the world’s best students in our universities, we no longer welcome them to enrich this nation.”

High-tech companies recruit workers at the nation’s top universities. But some, like Texas Instruments, say it can take 10 years for their foreign workers to become permanent U.S. residents.

Darla Whitaker, senior vice president at Texas Instruments, said, “This is not sustainable. It hurts our company and our industry, and it places burdens and stresses on our employees.”

The United States now limits the number of immigrants from other countries on a country-by-country basis, meaning students from large nations generally have the longest wait.

A recent study by the National Foundation for American Policy says a highly skilled Indian national could wait 70 years for permanent status.

Vivek Wadhwa conducts research about immigrant entrepreneurs, and is on the faculty of Harvard and Duke Universities.

“We are out of touch. We are in a knowledge economy. It is all about competition. If we don’t keep these people, if we don’t compete, we are going to lose. We are going to become a third world country and they are going to become like us,” said Wadhwa.

Congress is studying ways to change America’s immigration policies.

So far there has not been a consensus, however, on how to reverse the brain drain and keep scholars like Yifang Wei and Xiao Qin in the United States once they graduate from one of America’s top universities.

You May Like

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs

World Currencies

EUR
USD
0.9009
JPY
USD
123.09
GBP
USD
0.6387
CAD
USD
1.2524
INR
USD
63.605

Rates may not be current.