Why We Can’t Afford to Send Talented Graduates Home

It’s a trend that’s taking away the competitiveness of businesses in Greater Boston and beyond:  Talented internal students enrolling in our colleges; attaining an American-based education; and graduating eager to join our business community – only to be sent home to work for competitors overseas.

It’s not by choice, but rather antiquated immigration policy failing to keep pace with the market demand for such highly-skilled workers across the United States. And it’s an issue our recently formed “Business for Skilled Worker Immigration” Coalition is bearing down on, with the recommendation to create new, permanent resident visas for foreign students who graduate from a U.S. university with a Master’s or Ph.D degree in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM).

Key facts on this issue:

  • It’s undermining our competitiveness. Limits in available H-1B visas and other green cards leave no choice but for these graduates to return home, and bring innovation and growth to their own homelands – instead of our cities and states.
  • This is a critical demographic for the future of STEM. One out of three Ph. D recipients and one out of four Master’s degree recipients in science and engineering in the U.S. are foreign born (National Science Foundation)
  • It’ll create jobs. Every foreign student who earns an advanced degree from a U.S. university and stays to work in STEM creates on average 2.62 jobs for American workers. (Partnership for a New American Economy)
  • There is virtually full employment (<4%) for U.S. STEM workers with advanced degrees, and in many STEM occupations, unemployment is virtually non-existent (Partnership for a New American Economy)
  • The average STEM worker earns slightly more than his or her U.S. counterpart, meaning there’s a lack of evidence that foreign-born STEM workers adversely affect the wages of American workers.

Check back here and on the Coalition’s web page for ongoing updates on the coalition’s work on this and other skilled-worker immigration issues.