Are We Losing Innovative Workforce?

The immigrants’ issue has been much debated about. Many people view immigrants as a direct threat to the national economy and well-being of Americans.  However, the statistics say that three out of four inventions has been made by foreign-born people.

The research conducted by the Partnership for a New American Economy (PNAE) says these patents were related to science, engineering or mathematics – the three most quickly developing fields.  The work shows that foreign-born innovators come to study in top U.S. universities but later forced to leave the country and return home where they continue to work creating innovative technologies that will later be implemented worldwide. Or even worse, they are lured by the countries with less restrictive and more open-minded immigration policies.

The Partnership is striving for the immigrant legislation to be approved which would allow foreign-born graduates in STEM-related fields reside in the U.S. and provide them with better working conditions.

However, there are concerns that this immigration reform could cause employment problems for American-born STEM graduates who possess similar skills.  It is believed that should the reform be introduced it would become much harder for U.S.-born college graduates to obtain employment in STEM-related fields.

Other critics believe that addressing a problem of immigration in such one-dimensional way might cause even bigger problems. The director of the research for the Federation for American Innovation Reform, Eric Ruark, says he thinks if adopted the reform will benefit the U.S. employers and immigrants in the first place but when it comes to American labor force, it will be sufficiently undermined.

Under the current immigration legislation foreign-born citizens are allowed to stay in the U.S. for another year or two provided they find internship or part-time employment in their professional field. When this period expires they either have to leave or try to apply for a permanent visa, which is almost impossible to get. Training high-skilled nuclear chemistry and engineering physics specialists and then sending them away does not sound logical at all.

Unless U.S. immigration laws are changed soon the country will continue to lose its’ innovative resources.