Turnaround from agency’s mission of creating jobs for Americans.
By Deepak Chitnis
WASHINGTON, DC: The US Department of Labor is imploring the US government to up its efforts in attracting foreign talent to the US, a complete turnaround from the agency’s established mission of creating jobs specifically for American citizens.
Founded in 1913 to “foster, promote, and develop the welfare of the wage earners, job seekers, and retirees of the United States,” the Department of Labor is urging the Obama Administration to give green cards to all foreign students who graduate from US institutions, reports political website The Blaze.
This measure, if implemented, would help stop the reverse brain drain that has afflicted the US over the last several years. Thousands of students flock to the US annually to attend some of the world’s finest colleges and universities, but the opacity of US immigration often prevents them from staying in the country, allowing them to take their skills and education back home and use it in a different country, to help a different economy.
The Department of Labor wants to change that, but insisting that President Barack Obama and Congress implement measures to assure that the best and brightest students in the world, who come to the US for a top-tier education, end up staying in the US and using said education to help this country.
The Department of Labor’s initiative comes on the heels of mounting criticism against the idea of increasing legal immigration for highly skilled workers, with new data showing that H-1B and L-1 visas are being used as nothing more than an easy way for IT and STEM firms to acquire cheap labor from foreign countries.
A CIS report, released earlier this month, shows that US graduates in the STEM fields outnumber the amount of available STEM jobs by a 2-to-1 ratio. Furthermore, the average wage for those in STEM-related jobs went up less than 1% between 2000 and 2012, indicating that salaries have remained stagnant since Bill Clinton was the President.
As President Obama and Congress continue to try and pass immigration reform before the end of summer, the controversies over H-1B and L-1 visas, and the myths about STEM and IT jobs in the US, will only continue to get more attention, and could even play a big part in the upcoming midterm elections.
Lawmakers will have to reconcile fixing the immigration problem with improving the US economy; both issues go hand-in-hand, and neither, it seems, has a clear-cut solution.