One thing the overwhelming majority of Americans agree on, regardless of political party, is the need for immigration reform. Not only is it one of the keys necessary to create a healthier national economy and critical to America’s security, growth, and prosperity, it is also an integral component for the success of American business.
The current employment-based immigration system is broken to the point of disarray — but not to a point of disrepair. The facts speak for themselves:
1. In the European Union, work-related visas account for 40 percent of immigration (excluding intra-EU movement). In the United States, only six percent of foreign workers are granted permanent entry on work-related visas. Outdated institutional quotas are shutting talent and expertise out, when other countries are ushering them in.
2. Overall, 36 percent of those receiving a highly-coveted, highly valuable STEM-related doctorate in a U.S. university were students holding temporary visas. The situation is further exacerbated in PhD programs for engineering, mathematics, and computer science — over half of candidates enrolled are foreign students, studying in the U.S. on temporary student visas. They’ll go home, or elsewhere, equipped with gold-mark U.S. university credentials to put their education to work.
3. Between 1993 and 2008, the proportion of scientists and engineers over 50 in the U.S. increased from 18 percent to 27 percent. We’re simply not preparing to replace those who will soon retire.