Stakeholders call on US to expand green card path beyond STEM


First of all reported by Karin Fischer, the America COMPETES Act of 2022 would have a number of implications for the international education sector if adopted.

In addition to expanding limits on the number of international STEM graduates who can earn green cards, he proposed funding alternatives to Confucius Institutes at US universities and the creation of a new visa category for entrepreneurs.

The additional fee international STEM doctoral students may be required to pay is $1,000, the bill proposes.

NAFSA Deputy Executive Director of Public Policy, Jill Allen Murray, highlighted the reauthorization of Title VI of the Higher Education Act, the exemption of international STEM doctoral graduates from the green card cap and the creation of new categories of visas for entrepreneurs as pleasant characteristics as positive provisions. Act contains for international education.

“The United States desperately needs immigration reform and with the Build Back Better bill stalled, it could be a valuable avenue to achieve some success,” Murray noted.

“However, there is still a lot to see.

“The America COMPETES Act must be reconciled with the US Innovation and Competition Act passed by the Senate last year, and the two bills differ significantly. And neither bill includes language to extend dual intent to F-1 international students, which is a key policy for recruiting and retaining international students,” she explained.

“There is broad bipartisan support for ‘stacking a green card’ on the diploma of international students”

“We are also concerned about the ramifications of only providing international STEM students a path to a green card, as NAFSA strongly believes in the value of non-STEM majors in the United States as well.”

However, the Presidents Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration said the green card provisions for STEM PhDs included in the law are the type of provision that is part of its legislative recommendations and advocacy for welcoming international students.

The organization recent statement Reflecting on how the Biden administration has done in its first year has suggested that the State Department has implemented a number of vital changes that make it easier for US institutions to welcome international students.

Additionally, he said the Biden administration has defused the threat of pending regulations proposed by the Trump administration that would have deterred prospective international students.

Positive developments in the year to January 2022 included national interest exception qualifications for international students, streamlining of visa processes and prioritization of students for interviews and changes to the “duration of status “.

The administration has enacted policies that would “grow the American economy, create jobs and strengthen national security,” the organization noted, suggesting the green card proposal is the latest in a series of helpful policies.

The Biden-Harris administration also recently enacted a series of policies aimed at attracting international STEM students and researchers, including expanding the fields of study included in the optional STEM practical training program.

“We believe this should include more than STEM PhDs”

“It’s a win-win situation – for students, international and domestic, and higher education institutions, as well as local economies and the country,” executive director Miriam Feldblum told The PIE.

“There is broad bipartisan support for ‘stacking a green card’ on the diploma of international students graduating from US colleges and universities,” she said, adding that a 2020 survey showed majority support for “laws and policies that attract and retain international students and scholars to the United States.”

However, Feldblum also noted that the green card path should go beyond STEM graduates.

“Our legislative recommendations call for changes that allow a direct path to green cards for former international students, eliminate green card backlogs and prevent future backlogs,” she said.

“We believe this should include more than just STEM PhDs – with priority given to PhDs, MScs, BAs, and Associates degrees from U.S. institutions of higher education. , and represent the wide range of fields of study needed in our economy,” she said.

The executive director of the American International Recruitment Council, Brian Whalen, said that “for too long the United States has approached international education policies in a piecemeal way”, and that the law “attempts to adopt a vision and a more inclusive approach by proposing to support the academic path of international students in a more integrated way”.

The comprehensive legislation “will help retain STEM PhDs who have studied and trained at U.S. universities, as well as provide opportunities for those who have earned equivalent STEM degrees at foreign institutions,” it said. he noted.

“This is a strong commitment to attracting and retaining the best talent globally to advance STEM fields in the United States and the innovation and excellence that shape so many areas of business. In addition, significant funding for community colleges will help these institutions continue to play a vital role in the education and training of international students and professionals.

However, “the major shortcoming of the law is that it does not address many international student entry and transition points that must be valued and supported for the United States to truly be the primary destination in the world for international students. international students,” he suggested.

Entry points for international students, covering K-12 schools, high schools, community colleges, undergraduate and graduate colleges, vocational and business training programs, intensive study programs English and language skills, short-term study abroad programs and voluntary work and cultural programs should be strengthened, he said.

This is a key theme of the upcoming two-day AIRC educational avenues for international students symposium in April.

“We need to strengthen these different entry points through which international students begin their studies in the United States and do a better job of promoting them,” Whalen said.

“Similarly, the United States should support the development and promotion of successful models of how international students transition between educational tracks. Currently, there are still too many barriers that negatively impact student international student transitions between educational experiences.”

The bill would also require U.S. research and development fellows to certify that they are not part of a malicious foreign talent recruitment scheme in a foreign country of concern, while institutions would be required to ensure that no member of the research team participates in the programs. .

Foreign contracts or grants of $100,000 or more in one year should be disclosed to the government, extending to those worth $250,000 over three years.

A vote on the bill is expected this week.

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