2 thoughts on “Streamlining the Visa and Immigration Systems for Scientists and Engineers

  1. Paul Vereshchetin

    Dr. Teich,

    Great article and thank you for doing this research. An international STEM Ph.D. student myself, I have discussed this issue with many people of all walks of life and the general consensus we always converge to is that the immigration system the way it is today is a predicament to a long-term scientific and economic prosperity of the United States. In our lab – a leading one in its medical engineering field – there are currently three Ph.D. students and all are foreign nationals. Echoing your concerns, I myself once had to miss out on a conference in Europe because potential delays in re-obtaining F-1 visa could compromise my research process here in the US.

    It is quite strange to talk about security and especially about the cybersecurity that is recently getting a lot of attention while, as you note, 63% of students in computer science in U.S. universities are international students. After investing millions of tax-payers’ dollars into their advanced education we send them back home to countries like, for example, China and Russia that are leading in the hacking attacks against the US. Many of these students would love to stay in the US and could have been just as well “white hat” hackers fending off those attacks instead.

    As for the domestic unemployment and the competition the foreign graduates of American institutions would create, I believe there was a study (although I cannot site a paper off the top of my head) showing that advanced degree international graduates create more jobs than they “steal” through start-ups and general economic development. It is also somewhat fascinating how a country that has been so successful exactly because of its nature of being a melting pot seems to be afraid of every new generation of immigrants instead of welcoming them.

    While the students’ voice might not be as vocal as that of the scholars who inform the policy makers, I am wondering what we could do on our end to nudge the immigration policy changes. I would really appreciate your views on student advocacy in this regard.

    When speaking with John Holdren at the University of Virginia a couple of years ago, he joked exactly about “stapling a green card to the diplomaā€¯ but unfortunately it still remains a joke. I hope that together we will ultimately change the immigration policy so the next generations of young scientists don’t have to jump through the extricate system of bureaucratic hoops to stay in the country that is still appealing to them despite its apparent lack of desire to keep their skills, intelligence, and expertise on the land of the free.

    Thank you.

  2. Neharika

    Such a good post. It is so annoying that people with Phd’s are stuck in this rut of administrative processing. This might harm the US in the long run if they dont take timely action.


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