High-Skilled Workers Needed to Fire Up the Economy
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This morning at the U.S. Chamber, Michael Bloomberg - businessman, New York City Mayor, and co-chair of Partnership for a New American Economy (PNAE) – outlined his plan to reform America's high skilled immigration system to ensure that the United States remains a strong global innovator, competitor, and producer of life-changing products and services such as Amazon.com's just announced Kindle Fire tablet.*
As technology advances, the need for scientists and engineers is greater than ever. Bloomberg pointed out that "nearly two-thirds of those who earn a computer-science or engineering Ph.D. from a U.S. institution" are foreign students. Unfortunately while the United States allows these graduate students to study here, current policy prevents them from staying to work and start new companies.
"In today’s global marketplace, we cannot afford to keep turning away those with the skills our country needs to grow and succeed. It’s sabotaging our own economy," said Bloomberg.
Bloomberg offered four ideas to fix our high-skilled immigration system:
- "[W]e should dramatically expand the numbers of green cards available for the best of the best – the highest-skilled workers we need to join the U.S. economy permanently. "
- We should offer green cards to foreign science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) students who graduate with advance degrees from U.S. colleges and universities so that they stay in the U.S. instead of taking their valuable skills to other countries.
- We should offer "a conditional visa to immigrants who have capital to back their business ventures. If their new company successfully creates jobs for American workers, the entrepreneur would receive a green card to stay and grow the business into the future." [Learn more at PNAE's website.]
- We should remove the caps on HB-1 visas and the per-country employment green card limits.
Bloomberg said these are ideas "that expand our markets overseas, that spur innovation, that increase the number of entrepreneurs who start businesses here, and that create jobs for Americans on every rung of the economic ladder."
Bloomberg was right when he said we can't have too many scientists, engineers, and entrepreneurs--no matter where they come from. America's global competitors have policies to draw top-notch talent, and to remain competitive the United States needs to do the same. "These high-skill workers will not only help create thousands of jobs, they’ll also give us knowledge of foreign markets that will help U.S. businesses increase their exports," said Bloomberg.
Our struggling economy means that more than ever we need the innovation, creativity, and energy of high-skilled workers. We don't want to turn away the next Albert Einstein or Sergey Brin or even the person who invents the next Kindle Fire.
*The mayor read his speech from an iPad, another amazing American innovation.
UPDATE: Check out some photos from the event.