Do foreign grads have a negative effect on the local economies, and what if our government rewarded foreign students with green cards after graduating?
Will More Foreign Grads Hurt Local Economies? - Visa USA Expert
This is a series of posts outlining the arguments of immigration reform and how these arguments may affect laws that will further affect students here in the US on visas.In the next few posts I’m going to talk about the size, characteristics, and geographic distribution of foreign students in the US. The main point is that the higher powers here in the US are discussing a variety of ideas on how to reform our current immigration system; what would these reforms mean to you as a student visa holder coming to the US to go to college?Let’s look at one of the strongest arguments by the powers that be, who are against immigration; More foreign fresh STEM graduates will depress wages (because you will work for less) and you will crowd out opportunities for American employees (because foreign students mostly are attending and living in very heavily populated areas in the US and they are also more heavily concentrated in smaller metro areas when compared to total student populations).Smaller Metro Areas = Largest Number of Foreign StudentsHere is some preliminary analysis done by the Brookings Institute (considered a liberal or centrist think tank in Washington, D.C.) about the numbers. Even though it’s a few years old, it indicates that incoming foreign students attend colleges in smaller metro areas in the middle of the country in greater numbers when compared to the total undergrad and graduate student population. In other words, there are more foreign students attending college in Jonesboro, Arkansas and Ames, Iowas per 100 students, than in other mid or large metro areas. Keep in mind that larger metro areas have the highest overall numbers of incoming foreign students.To understand why students on visas may be affected by immigration reform, take a look at the graph and pay particular attention to the large blue circles indicating where the majority of foreign students decide to live and go to college making their numbers higher compared to the total student population (such as Arkansas, Alabama, and Iowa).Is This Bad for Local Economies?Here is where the arguments against letting STEM students get their green cards right after graduation (instead of the typical 10 years it takes currently) continue: Smaller metro areas attract the largest numbers of foreign students (compared to all students) so if foreign students are allowed to graduate and stay in the US and get their green card as a reward for choosing a STEM degree, these areas will experience the greatest impact in terms of access to a new labor pool from foreign students residing in their local economies. Just like I discuss in the first post in this series, some lawmakers believe that this impact on the labor pool with be advantageous for foreign grads but it will diminish opportunities for American students because it will reduce wages and force American graduates to not continue on do their graduate work in a STEM area.Both of these graphs show the numbers of foreign students graduating and moving into heavily populated and smaller metro areas with less population; according to these anti-immigration lawmakers, foreign students will reduce wages, compete with American students, and this is causing American students to stop pursuing graduate work in STEM fields which is hurting our long term brain-bank.I am going to have to do some more research to be able the real question these arguments propose – that is, are they right? Do foreign students graduating in both large and small metro areas really have those negative effects on their economies and would these be increased if our government rewarded foreign students with green cards after graduating with STEM degrees. Personally, I don’t think it’s true at all, but I will have to do more research as I continue to follow the immigration reform debates.In the next post, we’ll look at the two countries whose students make up about half of all incoming international students in the US: do you know these two countries?…Go USA!All information presented here is from my personal research and my attempts to save you time and money when pursuing your dream of coming to the USA to study. Do not take any of this information as LEGAL advice – I am not an attorney, nor do I play one on TV. This information is gathered from a variety of sources including many U.S. Government websites and I urge you to validate this information as much as possible, just as I do when posting on this blog.