US unveils changes to attract international science and technology students
The Biden administration on Friday announced policy changes to attract international students specializing in science, technology, engineering and math, as part of a broader effort to make the U.S. economy more competitive.
The Department of State will allow eligible visiting students in these fields, known as STEM, to complete up to 36 months of college education, according to a notice in the Federal Register. There will also be an initiative to connect these students with American companies.
Homeland Security will add 22 new areas of study, including cloud computing, data visualization and data science, to a program that allows international graduates from US universities to spend up to three additional years training with employers nationals. The program generated approximately 58,000 applications in fiscal year 2020.
The programs are designed to ensure that the United States attracts talent from around the world, attracting scientists and researchers whose breakthroughs will help the economy grow. Government data shows that international students are increasingly driving university research.
It’s the latest example of the Biden administration using presidential powers, as Donald Trump did, to revamp the immigration system in the face of decades of congressional inaction. The Migration Policy Institute has tallied nearly 300 changes to the system in Biden’s first year in office, many to undo Trump’s actions to restrict immigration.
The Trump administration’s agenda frequently included plans to reduce or eliminate visas that allow college graduates, mostly in STEM fields, for up to three years to chart a career path in the United States. However, he never announced any changes that would add to other measures restricting legal immigration.
The government’s National Science Board reported this week that international students on temporary visas account for more than half of US doctorates in economics, computer science, engineering, math and statistics. But in science and engineering, China is rapidly closing the PhD gap, generating almost as many graduates as the United States in 2018.
Business groups and immigration advocates hailed Friday’s announcement, while critics said it would hurt job prospects for US citizens.
“These targeted actions will help American businesses meet their critical labor needs and are part of a series of key actions needed to address the labor shortage crisis,” he said. said Jon Baselice, vice president of immigration policy for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. “Much more needs to be done to update and modernize our nation’s immigration system, and these types of changes require congressional action.”
US Tech Workers, an advocacy group critical of post-graduation visas, said the changes will encourage companies to discriminate against cross-border job applicants.
“This is exactly the kind of policy that destroys the career prospects of young American college graduates,” the group said on Twitter.
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US unveils changes to attract international science and technology students (2022, January 21)
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