America Trains Foreign PhDs, Canada Employs Them

Last Updated Jul 22, 2008 1:31 PM EDT

  • America Trains Foreign PhDs, Canada Employs ThemThe Find: The two top feeder schools for American PhD programs are now Chinese universities, but don't think that just because America trains so many foreign students it will then employ them; instead Canada is trying to attract those that can't get a visa to work in the States.
  • The Source: The Economist's Free Exchange blog.
The Takeaway: We wrote last year about the calls of business leaders from Bill Gates to Michael Bloomberg to increase the flow of highly skilled immigrants into the U.S., but it doesn't seem like the issue is going away. The Economist's Free Exchange blog points out that,
If you are a PhD student in America, there's a good chance that your undergraduate degree came from Tsinghua University in China. That's because Tsinghua and Peking Universities are now the top feeder schools for American PhD programmes.... The increasing dominance of Chinese doctoral students does add to the popular perception that America will someday suffer a shortage of scientists and engineers.
Do these budding scientists and engineers stay in the States after graduation? Not as many as businesses would like. The New York Times reports on the difficulty companies face in getting the H1-B visas used to bring in highly skilled employees for three year terms: "Last year, the agency received enough petitions to cover the annual quota on the first day applications were accepted. About half of the total petitions filed were rejected because the supply of visas had run out."

Plenty of companies, including Microsoft, have complained that they're suffering because they can't get visas for all the highly educated personnel they want to hire. But one group is benefiting from their troubles: Canadian employers. The immigration website for Alberta, Canada is advertising the province as an alternative, permanent home to those frustrated by the temporary U.S. H1-B visa.

The Question: True or False: the U.S. immigration system for skilled workers is broken? If you answered true, how should we fix it?

(Image of aspiring canadian sticker by jslander, CC 2.0)
  • Jessica Stillman On Twitter»

    Jessica lives in London where she works as a freelance writer with interests in green business and tech, management, and marketing.

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