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The Atlantic: increasing immigration for highly-educated aliens is a "no-brainer"

Published: Wednesday, December 21, 2011 9:00 am

December 21, 2011. Consider two groups of potential immigrants to the U.S.. Group #1: people of extraordinary ability: scientists, artists, educators, business people and athletes. Group #2: a random assortment of people. Which group should the U.S. favor in its immigration policy? Unfortunately, the United States is setting aside about 40,000 visas annually for people of extraordinary ability, while opening the door to 55,000 for people randomly chosen by lottery. scientist stem engineer PhD visa green card permanent resident stem

An article in the December 2011 issue of The Atlantic provides a number of examples of what it refers to as our “bizarre U.S. policy toward high-skill immigrants.” It highlights the current per country caps in employment-based visas as an especially bizarre aspect of U.S. immigration law. In 2010, there were 2,803 visas allocated to people of extraordinary ability from China, a country of over 1 billion people. The same year, exactly 2,803 visas were allocated to similar individuals from Greenland.

The author recommends that visa allocations be re-prioritized, with a shift from family-based to work-based immigration and a point system for skills, similar to the system used by Canada, Australia and Hong Kong. He also advocates the creation of a route to permanent residency for foreign-born students who graduate with advanced degrees in STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) from American universities.

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