American universities have always been among the best in the world. Every year, thousands of international students choose to travel to the United States for their studies. And yet, after graduation, many choose to take their talent elsewhere.
Of international students who chose to study in the U.S., the majority (42%) did so because of the prestige and reputation of American colleges and universities. In comparison, only 23% chose to study in the U.S. due to their interest in working here. Of respondents who planned on leaving the U.S. after graduation, 71% said that they would consider staying if employment was easier to secure.
The reality is, that despite interest in remaining in the U.S. after graduation, many talented graduates are leaving the country after they graduate. Poor immigration policy is certainly a contributing factor, but will the U.S. implement new policy to encourage international talent to stay?
The battle for foreign talent
The U.S. is not the only country contending for foreign talent. Previously, American companies were able to attract enough international workers to compete with other countries across the globe. However, that luster may be wearing off as other countries present better options for graduates seeking work.
Recently, the U.K. announced the Graduate route, a form of visa that allows graduates to remain in the country for several years to work or look for work. Canada has similar programs that make it easier to remain and work in the country after graduation.
Looking to the future
While the U.S. continues to drive international students into the country for their education, it fails to provide the resources for many of those students to find work after they graduate. The immigration system as a whole has been under scrutiny recently, and some wonder if the U.S. will pursue more lenient policy for talented young graduates who choose to stay in the country. Guaranteeing residency post-graduation, whether through a temporary visa or a green card, could help retain much-needed international talent.
As the 2022 midterm elections approach, many are looking to the current Congress and upcoming candidates to see what immigration reform options may be on the table.