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

Video Experts Warn World Losing Ebola Fight

Doctors Without Borders says world is losing battle against Ebola, unless wealthy nations dispatch specialized biological disaster response teams More

Video Experts: Rise of Islamic State Significant Development in Jihadism

Many analysts contend the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years More

US-Based Hong Kongers Pledge Support for Pro-Democracy Activists

Democracy advocates call on Chinese living abroad to join them in opposing new election rules for their home territory 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.
Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearancei
X
Elizabeth Lee
September 02, 2014 8:57 PM
Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearance

Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Experts See Rise of ISIS as Significant Development

The Islamic State’s rise seems sudden. It caught the U.S. by surprise this summer when it captured large portions of northern Iraq and spread its wings in neighboring Syria. But many analysts contend that the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years. VOA's Jela de Franceschi takes a closer look at the rise of ISIS and its implications for the Middle East and beyond.
Video

Video Israel Concerned Over Syrian Rebels in Golan

Israeli officials are following with concern the recent fighting between Syrian rebels and government forces near the contested Golan Heights. Forty-four U.N. peacekeepers from Fiji have been seized by Syrian Islamist rebels and the clashes occasionally have spilled into Israel. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forces

A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video US Detainees Want Negotiators for Freedom in North Korea

The three U.S. detainees held in North Korea were permitted to speak with foreign media Monday. The government of Kim Jong Un restricted the topics of the questions, and the interviews in Pyongyang were limited to five minutes. Each of the men asked Washington to send a representative to Pyongyang to secure his release. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti has our story.
Video

Video Turkmen From Amerli Describe Survival of IS Siege

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Shi'ite Turkmen have fled the town of Amerli seeking refuge in the northern city of Kirkuk. Despite recent military gains after U.S. airstrikes that were coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the situation remains dire for Amerli’s residents. Sebastian Meyer went to Kirkuk for VOA to speak to those who managed to escape.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.

AppleAndroid

World Currencies

EUR
USD
0.7537
JPY
USD
103.79
GBP
USD
0.6032
CAD
USD
1.0957
INR
USD
60.522

Rates may not be current.