February 23, 2017

Industry Technology Advances in Peril While Lacking Immigration

 and Immigration Restrictions

The question is not complicated when one knows the answer, the question is: 
What brain power are we loosing with restricting immigrants from coming in?  The answer is on the doctorates awarded to immigrants from countries in turmoil or not friendly to the US.

Turmoil in these countries gives us rather an opportunity than a crisis just like we had after WW11 in which we were able to bring in the immigrants and pick from the brightest to help us achieve the miracles in technology we enjoy now but we have in the thought process the miracles we expect  
to accomplish 30 years from now. We are going to need all the brain power we can get.

One good example for these plans is Iran. I’ve had an Iranian Doctor, friends and even in High School a classmate. I know these people are smart and like to have knowledge just like the persians before them, when the Iranians were the Persians. My experience with them is that they possess beauty and  smarts. Low keyed and with a softer voice than many others from that region. 
Don’t go by what their government is or says nor their politicians because they have a limited freedom of government unlike us in which our politicians don’t represent all of us but for a big portion, let’s say about 40%. 
But we have better technical information to prove this point rather than my own experiences.


Many tech companies and scholars have raised their voices against President Trump’s Jan. 27 executive order on immigration. The hundreds of researchers and high-skilled workers who could be affected by the travel ban are part of the larger U.S. innovation economy, a community that relies heavily on foreign talent and whose members now worry that legal immigration could be the next target.

We asked three experts on innovation, competitiveness and the workforce on how broad immigration reform could affect the country.

Nearly 100 Silicon Valley companies – including tech giants like Apple, Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Twitter – filed an amicus brief opposing Trump’s immigration order nearly a week after it was implemented. The brief stated that the order disrupts business operations, threatens investment and “makes it more difficult and expensive for U.S. companies to recruit, hire, and retain some of the world’s best employees.”

MIT, Harvard and six other universities in Massachusetts filed a request to the federal court of Boston against Trump’s  executive order.

The state of Washington, backed by other states such as Minnesota, claimed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit that the order harms their businesses and universities. The court eventually agreed with the states and temporarily blocked the travel ban.
Although the visas issued to countries included in the executive order represent less than 1 percent of total visas, the impact on the U.S. talent force could be significant. Iran, which is included in the restricted list, ranked 10th in the number of U.S. doctorates awarded to noncitizens in 2015. At MIT alone, more than 100 students and scholars were affected by the travel ban.

“You can’t build a border against ideas,” said Anthony P. Carnevale, director of the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce. “You are always moving along a cutting edge on innovation. The way to win on that is to be very open and competitive with respect to the talent. The fact that [the Trump administration] did this to seven countries raises a fear that it can extend to more countries.”

Many in the tech community worry the order could be the first step toward a deeper review of the entire legal immigration system.

The last of these proposals does not focus on temporary work visas but on permanent residents, individuals who hold green cards. The bill aims to reduce the number of new visa issuances by 41 percent in the first year, and limit them by half in ten years. In a Fox News interview Cotton said: “Most of the people coming to our country are coming because they are distant relatives, under the outdated diversity lottery or as refugees. Obviously they don’t have the kind of high skills our economy needs.”

Although both targets are two separate buckets, temporary visa holders and permanent green card holders are part of the same complex immigration system. High-skilled workers typically obtain green cards after they have held student and work visas.


“Companies are importing low-wages workers on H1-B visas to take jobs from young, college-trained Americans,” Trump said during a rally in Columbus, Ohio, in October. “We will protect these jobs for all Americans.” But Trump has contradicted himself on this issue several times: “I’m changing. I’m changing. We need highly skilled people in this country, and if we can’t do it, we’ll get them in,” he said during a Republican debate in March on Fox News.

[ Donald Trump flip-flops, then flips and flops more on H-1B visas]

This back-and-forth suggests Trump and his team might still be weighing the effect a strict “America First” policy may have in the long run.

Traditionally, Republicans and Democrats have agreed on the need to continue welcoming high-skilled foreign workers. In the past two decades, all three U.S. presidents expanded visa caps for students or the highly skilled. Democrats have traditionally been more flexible when it comes to visas for workers’ families.

In 1999, Bill Clinton boosted the original H1-B cap from 65,000 to 115,000 “to address a shortage of skilled workers.” In 1998, he signed a temporary increase to 195,000 and its future return to 65,000.
Family categories(they are not allowed to work with some exceptions )

With his H-1B Visa Reform Act, George W. Bush expanded the 65,000 cap for high skilled workers to an extra 20,000 for graduates of U.S. masters programs or higher.
After 2007, students in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields were eligible for an additional 17 months of practical training, for a total of 29 months.
An executive order on Nov. 20, 2014, was directed to expand visa programs for foreign investors, researchers, inventors and skilled foreign workers. It asked also to provide work authorization to the spouses of certain H-1B visa holders on the path to lawful permanent resident status.
Obama’s 2014 executive order asked to expand practical training for foreign students.
Why are tech companies concerned?

Amid increasing globalization in recent decades, the U.S. economy has relied on foreign labor for innovation. “There is a strong correlation between immigration and innovation,” said Manjari Raman, program director and senior researcher at the U.S. Competitiveness Project at Harvard Business School. “Tech companies in Silicon Valley rely on innovation as a competitive advantage, and they want access to large pools of talent.”

A study by Georgetown’s Center on Education and the Workforce suggests that by 2020, 65 percent of all jobs will require postsecondary education and training, an increase from 28 percent in 1973.

“Our undergrads are predominantly U.S.-born but frequently come from families who are first-generation. But our master’s and PhD programs are extremely global in nature,” said Fiona E. Murray, associate dean for innovation at MIT. “This is not about excluding American students, but actually recognizing the demand for advanced education — especially PhDs and beyond — is often more global and less local in nature. And so we have an opportunity to educate a very global community of young innovators.”

[ ‘Deeply concerned': Corporate America responds to Trump’s travel ban]

H-1B visas for high-skilled workers, and H-4 visas for their immediate relatives, represent more than a third of the total visas related to employment.

For tech and research industries, these seem essential: The number of these visas is capped — for 2017, the limit is 65,000 plus an extra 20,000 for those with a master’s. Demand has exceeded the cap in most recent years, so a lottery system decides who receives a visa.

The Office of Foreign Labor Certification is responsible for deciding if there are any qualified and available U.S. workers in the area of intended employment. It also must ensure that the admission of a foreign worker will not impact on the wages and working conditions of similarly employed U.S. workers. These certifications, while they don’t reflect the final number of visas, provide the best indicator of the needs for different companies. Most of these jobs are in the areas of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), according to a 2015 report from the certification office.

(except computer)
Software developers
Software developers
(systems software)
and information
systems managers

26,465                                                         Software developers
(applications total)


Software developers
(systems software)

Electronic engineers
(except computer)

and information
systems managers

Main positions needed
Cognizant Tech. Solutions U.S. Corp.
Computer systems analysts
Google Inc.
Software developers
Intel Corporation
Electronics engineers
Cisco Systems Inc.
Software developers,
Microsoft Corporation
Software developers
Qualcomm Technologies Inc.
Electronics engineers
Amazon Corporate LLC
Software developers
Oracle America Inc.
Software developers
Apple Inc.
Software developers
Ernst Young U.S. LLP
Accountants and auditors
Facebook Inc.
Software developers
House of Raeford Farms Inc.
Meat, poultry, and fish cutters
Hcl America Inc.
Computer systems analysts
Deloitte Consulting LLP
Software developers
Defender Services Inc.
Janitors and cleaners
Koch Foods of Alabama LLC
Meat, poultry, and fish cutters
Goldman Sachs Co.
Software developers
JP Morgan Chase Co.
Software developers
Capgemini Financial Services USA Inc.
Software developers
Yahoo! Inc.
Software developers
Igate Technologies Inc.
Software developers
IBM Corporation
Software developers
Infosys Ltd.
Computer systems analysts
Case Farms Processing Inc.
Slaughterers and meat packers
Ericsson Inc.
Software developers
But experts like Raman also note the need for these companies to do more.

“In areas like STEM there is a shortage of high skill talent within the country,” she said. “Immigration is a great way to fill a gap, but there is an opportunity here for these companies to see what they can do more to create a pipeline of talent within the U.S.” At the same time, she said, “we should encourage students who come to the U.S. for higher studies, to stay back in the U.S. rather than send them back to their own countries. You need both.”

It could impact U.S. competitiveness
Some of the international economies where these researchers and workers are coming from are among U.S. competitors, although Raman clarified: “Competitiveness is not a win-lose game. When the U.S. becomes more competitive, everyone benefits. When China becomes more competitive, everyone benefits.” The four largest feeder countries for American companies are also among the top contributors to U.S. invention and research.

Labor certifications in 2015
South Korea

Since 2008, more U.S. patents have been registered by non-U.S. citizens than those registered by Americans. Murray confirmed this trend: “In our MIT alumni survey, the rate of patenting is higher for foreign-born students (34 percent) than for U.S.-born students (30 percent).”

Top ten countries for U.S.
patents in 2015, by the residence
of the first-named inventor.
In 2015, more U.S. patents were registered by Non U.S. citizens, than by U.S. citizens.
0-K’s-5%….Israel, India 
5….Canada, France, Britain
4…South Korea

Foreign origin:
South Korea
Top ten countries of foreign citizenship for U.S. doctorate recipients, 2004-2014
U.S. doctorates awarded, by citizenship and field of study in 2014.

{Life sciences
Physical sciences
Social sciences}

Visa holders
U.S. Citizens and
Permanent residents:
South Korea

Iran, one of the countries affected by the travel ban, is among the top ten countries with most U.S. doctorates.
Need for an open debate
In a recent report, experts from the Harvard Business School said one of the ways to keep the U.S. economy competitive is to allow the influx of more high-skilled workers.

However, the country doesn’t necessarily agree. The study notes that only 29 percent of the public supports high-skilled immigration, compared to 77 percent from the business community.

“Many more jobs have been lost due to automation rather than immigration,” Raman said, adding that the latter is often the focus of the blame.

To ensure the country’s ability to compete, Raman encouraged politicians to inform the public and keep an open dialogue including business leaders’ perspective, but also the needs of U.S. citizens. “The United States is competitive if its companies are able to compete successfully across the globe and, at the same time, the average American is able to aspire to rising living standards,” Raman said.

“If a policy decision serves only U.S. companies or if it serves only the average American, that might not always serve the country best in the long run. It may seem a good policy in the short term, but in the long term it may have unintended consequences that could harm the country’s ability to compete globally.”

Sources: U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, cotton.senate.gov, Office of Foreign Labor Certification, National Science Foundation, U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce, MIT Innovation Initiative, U.S. Competitiveness Project at Harvard Business School. Published Feb. 21.

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