Tuesday, December 22, 2009

New NAFSA Report - A Visa and Immigration Policy for the Brain-Circulation Era

I’m about a week late in posting to IHEC Blog about this but due to being sick most of last week I’m getting this up today. The majority of this post is a copy and paste job with a few minor edits of a message I received from my colleague Andy Amsler at NAFSA: Association of International Educators.

On Monday, December 14th NAFSA released a report entitled A Visa and Immigration Policy for the Brain-Circulation Era: Adjusting To What Happened in the World While We Were Making Other Plans on what the Obama administration and Congress need to do about immigration reform and visa policy as they relate to attracting foreign students and foreign talent to the United States. NAFSA will make the case that there are two shifts in thinking that need to happen – one in reference to post -9/11 policies and one in regard to trends in global mobility – and that there are specific policies that can and need to be implemented to make a big difference in enhancing the US’ ability to participate in the global community, both economically and beyond.
As Congress gears up to tackle immigration reform next spring and the administration continues to focus on innovation, job creation, and getting the economy moving, we believe it is past time for an in-depth look at how foreign students factor in. On Friday [December 3rd], President Obama himself raised the issue in
response to a question after his job summit, saying:
“We have not seen the same kinds of openness, I think, over the last several years that I'd like to see. Now, we've got to do it in a prudent way, but, you know, let's just take the example of foreign students. One of the great things about this country is we get the best and the brightest talent to study here, and once they study here, they start enjoying the intellectual freedom and the
entrepreneurship, and they decide to stay and they start new businesses. Suddenly, you've got a whole new generation of folks who are creating Intel or other extraordinary businesses. If -- if -- if those students start seeing, you know, a -- a -- a closed door, then we are losing what is one of our greatest competitive advantages. And that's something that I think, you know, we're
committed to doing.”

There are specific policy steps with regard to immigration and visas that the administration and Congress need to take to resolve long-standing issues – doing so would contribute enormously to both America’s global engagement and its economic recovery. Our purpose with the paper is to elevate those and talk about them.

To view the report, visit www.nafsa.org/braincirculationreport. There you will also find a link to NAFSA’s press release and a one-page summary of the report. Additionally, you can join the conversation on this topic over at NAFSA’s blog
here where guest blogger DeDe Long writes about “NAFSA’s New Policy Report Reflects Needs of Brain-Circulation Era”.

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