When we talked about the problems immigration law was causing for young, hard-working entrepreneurs in February, we mentioned that other countries were stepping in to take the highly-skilled and innovative immigrants that were denied permanent residency in the U.S. It was more than just the media, however, that took note of the fact that many bright immigrants are denied employment-based visas. Now, Mark Zuckerberg and several other business owners are taking a stand on immigration.
There are a number of people living in eastern Pennsylvania who wish they could stay in the United States, but they are on temporary visas or are here as students. Once their visas expire, they may be able to apply for another, but many of them will be sent back to the countries they came from, which can be devastating for the economy, says Zuckerberg.
The founder of Facebook notes that approximately 40 percent of the graduate students in math and the sciences, the fields that the U.S. are falling behind in, are forced out of the country after they graduate. Instead of giving them the opportunity to naturalize and give back to the community, they either return home or go to another country that is seeking immigrants.
Part of the reason is that the H1-B visas are gone shortly after they become available every year. These visas, while temporary, provide an opportunity for immigrants to apply for permanent residency and, thus, to become citizens. But with such few visas available, there are many people who find themselves forced out of the country that they otherwise want to become part of.
If you would like more information, please read our previous post on the shortage of H1-B visas.
Source: The Washington Post, “Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg: Immigration and the knowledge economy,” Mark Zuckerberg, April 10, 2013