A highly educated workforce is the principal anchor for high-tech business investment
Central to America's ability to maintain its innovation leadership into the next century will be a highly skilled, highly educated workforce. Today, however, the nation faces a troubling workforce trend.
If current education and immigration patterns continue, U.S. economic leadership could be significantly weakened. The supply of Americans graduating with degrees in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) will not meet the demands of a post-recovery U.S. economy. While foreign competitors focus their attention on training the innovators of tomorrow, too few American students are choosing technical degrees and careers. Meanwhile, current U.S. immigration policies prevent American companies from retaining recruiting the world's best innovators - including many educated at U.S. universities.
We must retain the best and brightest.
Brilliant researchers, scientists and engineers flock to our world-class universities, but once they have their diplomas U.S. immigration policy makes it almost impossible for these U.S. educated professionals to work, live and become productive citizens in America.
In a world where talent and capital are available globally, this is a significant problem for U.S. high-tech businesses. Foreign nationals represent a large percentage of the science and engineering graduates that will be key in solving national challenges such as energy, health care, and national security. It is imperative to our nation’s economic future that we not allow these talented individuals to get lost in our immigration system.
America’s Immigration System: A Competitive Disadvantage
Congress has failed to reform the employment-based (EB) green card and H-1B visa systems that U.S. employers use to recruit and retain top worldwide talent.
- The broken green card system causes employees to spend years in limbo, unable to be promoted or relocated without restarting the process.
- Over 3,700 H-1Bs in the semiconductor industry seek permanent resident status.
- Over 500 applicants have been waiting for 4 years or more.
- The result is that America is less welcoming to the world’s best and brightest at a time when other countries are increasing their efforts to attract these individuals.
To move forward we believe it is important for parties with different viewpoints to come together and seek common understanding, which is why the SIA has reached agreement with the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers -U.S.A. (IEEE-USA) on permanent, employment-based immigration reform, and we urge Congress to do the same.
SIA Calls On Congress To Support U.S. Innovation Through High-Skilled Immigration Reform
- Exempt graduates with advanced STEM degrees from U.S. universities from the EB green card cap to allow U.S. employers to retain foreign-born employees already working in America; and
- Streamline the path from student to permanent resident to allow U.S. companies to access key talent, particularly individuals educated at U.S. universities.