Is the United States of America in STEM workers shortage?
The United States attracts many young people whose ultimate aspiration is to access the higher education provided by United States educational institutions, for once educated, they can go back to the homeland and fix issues. This immigration requires a lot of adaptive skills and may lead to an acculturation.
However, after graduating, some of these temporary immigrants are willing to stay in the United States in order to make a living here especially due the social advantages found in the United States compared to those of their homelands.
But the United States of America, because of the current social issues, cannot be the host country of anyone who would want to. Thus, there are regulations that control the legalization process of those seeking a permanent residency through the green card granting. This research is focused on specific kinds of foreign students, the STEM (Science,Technology,Engineering,Mathematic) ones. It is noticed a special interest for United States officials to make them remain here after they graduate. In a article about the creativity of foreign students in the United States relates that “one out of every four chief executive officers or chief technologists was a first-generation immigrant. Nearly 80 percent of immigrant-founded companies were concentrated in software were innovation manufacturing-related services. Those businesses generated $52 billion in sales and employed 450,000 workers in 2005” (Brown, par. 13). This element shows how foreign imported labors contribute to the American economy.
However, on one hand there are some instances that encourage the granting of citizenship to those aspirants providing that they would be, in one way or another, a source of wealth for the country economy. On the other hand, there are those that oppose this granting of citizenship because of the surplus of employees in the job market.
The other negative aspect of this skilled immigration in United States is the lack of expertise in the countries of emigration, the countries where those students are from. There are to be elaborate strategies that will benefit both United States and those countries that the skilled labored is shipped overseas causing them to remain poor. The countries of immigration, such as the United, would have to consider the interest of the natives while conceiving brain drain policy; this immigration may be an economic threat for them. And the countries of emigration, such as China, may elevate the social climate and promote patriotism in order to draw their skilled individuals back.
In a scholarly journal about the adaption process of foreign students in United States educational institutions, Eunyong Kim, has produced an interesting psychological approach of the culture shock apprehension. . She mentions four stages developed by Adler. First the honeymoon stage, in which stereotypes are being made all the time Secondly there is the Disintegration stage marked by a period of confusion and disorientation. Thirdly there is the Reintegration stage, Characterized by the sharp rejection of the host culture. After there is the fourth stage, Autonomy, marked by a growing and sensitivity toward the host culture. And the fith and the last stage, Independence, marked by an acculturation.(Euyoung, page 104-105) The interaction with people from the host culture would ease the international students’ adaptation without facing all those previous steps.
However after graduating those students would be expected to get back to their homeland, some actually do but others do not, they stay here in United States. An article by The International Migration about the post graduate situation of foreign students in United States reports that “officially, theses migrations are expected to be temporary and visa restrictions are applied accordingly: in reality many international students never return to their own countries” (Heike C. and Hazen, par. 1).
This research develops three main reason for which foreign student may be motivated to stay in the United States or to get back after graduating. First we have the professional reason because of the advantage in term of job opportunities that the United States may have compared to their home land. It is the most common reason that leads those young people to stay in United States. The societal and the personal reasons are more likely to bring them back to their home land, being homesick. (Heike c. and Hazen, par.1) Here, the emotional aspect of being far from the homeland is an incentive that draws them to their countries.
The decision that those educated people may take after their curriculum in the United States, are based on various situations and have huge impacts. In a study directed by three economic scholars, Musumba, Yanhong and James, more specific insights about the different motivations have been developed. The article states that “international graduate students constitute highly educated individuals; therefore, their decisions on where to start their professional careers have socio-economic impacts on both the United States and their home countries” (Factors Influencing Career location…, page 501). In fact this brain drain has the characteristic to make the country of immigration wealthier and the one of emigration, which usually struggles economically, poorer.
The scholars are even more specific about the two extremes of the immigration in some countries and the emigration from the lands of origin. The article relates that developed countries such as the United Stated, the United Kingdom. Canada, and Australia are nations that promote this brain drain policy and those recruited students contribute the wealth of those countries by their innovations because all their accomplishments are attributed to previously of learning. On the other hand, the countries of emigration tend to lack of skilled labor and this causes them to struggle and to low their development (Factors Influencing Career location…, page 501-502). Generally, those educated people are attracted by the social advantages found in the countries of immigration compared with their homelands’ realities.
Dr. Amadu Jacky Kaba is an assistant professor of Sociology at Seton Hall University, in the Department of Sociology, Anthropology and Social Work. He has effectuated an interesting research about the United States’s brain drain policy especially toward Africans. His research leads him to the fact that “Of the 113,494 foreign scholars teaching in U.S. colleges and universities during the 2008-2009 academic year, 3,800 (3.3%) were from Africa (“Foreign Black Scholars Teaching in the United States,” 2010). Of the 700,000 Africans in the United States in March 2000, 49.3% of those aged 25 and over had at least a bachelor’s degree, a rate that is substantially higher than the average for the general U.S. population of 25.6%” ( Kaba, page 188-189). This case, considering the lack of competence in African educational institutions in general, illustrates why developing countries remain struggling to move forward.
But after having considered all this skilled immigration in the United States, Suzanne Weiss, in her scholarly research paper about the diversity of citizenship among foreign students in United States, points out that Asians in general and China particularly constitute the most numerous customers of American educational institutions. In fact, is about 40% of the foreign students population in which China constitutes 25.4% of it (Weiss, page 25). This may justify the impressing rate of development for Asian countries.
But still, developed countries find out ways to take advantages of this immigration. For keeping their nations world leaders, developed countries’ officials multiply strategies to make those skilled immigrants remain in their lands, with the United States of America as top recruiter.
In an official White House response to foreign graduates with advanced United States degrees about the different immigration reforms, the intentions of the United States presidential administration for changes to existing laws has been expressed in a clear way, stating, “President Barack Obama is deeply committed to fixing our broken immigration system and building a 21st century immigration system that meets our economic and national security needs. The Administration consistently has supported the basic concept that we are a nation of immigrants. In order to make lasting change, we have to create a system that works for our country” (Escobar and Rand, par.3). The change in the law is about to open the doors to those foreign graduate students from American educational institutions in order the boost the economy through their ability to create jobs for Americans.
The previously cited material also points out that there are specific areas of study that will benefit from those legal changes. The document relates, “The President supports encouraging foreign students to stay in the U.S. and contribute to our economy by stapling a green card to the diplomas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), PhDs and select STEM Masters Degrees students so that they will stay, contribute to the American economy, and become Americans over time” (Escobar and Rand, par. 6). This shows that there is a particular interest concerning STEM graduate foreign students, considered here as potential job creators because of the very important number of job opportunities found the STEM fields. The United States presidential administration is not the only American institution wanting an immigration reform.
In a United States Senate database article relating the issues of the New York Tech Industry, the United States Senator for New York, Charles E. Schumer, also raises the questions about the law change regarding the ability of STEM graduate foreign students to apply in the country of learning what they have mastered in United States educational institutions for the well-being of the country’s economy. The section content talks about how despite a growing shortage of highly-skilled tech workers based in United States, many of the world’s brightest students are forced to go back to their homelands and take with them all their potential ( Schumer, par.5). Senator Schumer, with this point of view, expresses his desire to see the United States of America remain the place where everyone from all over the world comes and stays in when it comes to a matter of technology with the job opportunities and the higher education provided by American educational institutions.
As arguments for backing his claim, the New York Senator adds, “It makes no sense that America is educating the world’s smartest and most talented students and then, once they are at their full potential and mastered their craft, kicking them out the door,” (Schumer, par.7). He justifies the importance of making some adjustments to the current United States immigration law. The article also relates how the New York legislation creates “a pilot program through which 55,000 new green cards per-year will be available for foreign students who graduate from U.S. universities with advanced-degrees in STEM fields” (Schumer, par. 6) as pragmatic change.
All those strategies for making those foreign engineers remain in the United States are reactions to a fall in highly qualified engineers undergraduate of which many of them are foreign born, thus return to their home countries, according to a study from Duke University about the engineering climate in the United States (brown, par.1). This Duke University conclusion has been reported by Alan S. brown, who has been writing about science, engineering, technology policy, and how business uses technology to achieve competitive advantage for more than 30 years, in his “Brain Drain” titled article about the engineering climate issues in The United States.
His study warns that the “United States may grow less competitive globally if it cannot find a way to entice enough foreign-born graduate engineers to remain in the States” (Brown, par. 1). This decreasing character in the engineering field is one the reason that United States officials would make those foreign graduate engineers remain in the country.
Foreign students in American educational institutions are also a source of a direct economic wealth for the American economy. In her research about the economic impact from the different fees foreign students pay during their curriculum in the United States, Suzanne Weiss point out that those students “contribute $20.2 billion a year to U.S. economy in tuition, fees, rent, transportation, food and other living expenses” (Weiss, page 24). This element illustrates the interests both in human and economic capitals of the United States toward foreign students.
Now, would graduating from a United States educational institution be the strict requirement for getting stapled a green card on his or her diploma? No, there is an additional requirement for that and narrowing the green card granting.
In a recently published article in the World Socialist Website, an organization site publishing articles and analysis covering a wide range of topics and events all around the world, the United States presidential
immigration reform was highlighted. In the article section relating to STEM graduate foreign students, it adds interesting information. The material says that after earning a degree in those STEM fields, those United States citizenship aspirants would get a green card stapled to their diplomas provided that they find a job here in the United States (Kate Randall, par. 16). This information narrows the green cards providence for those seeking for it because getting STEM degree will not be enough but it will be also needed to find a job in United States.
The previous lines tended to support the fact of opening doors to STEM graduate foreign students from United States educational institutions in the American tech job market because of a shortage of high-skilled employees in those STEM fields. However, some instances claim that there is not any need for the United States to seek for an external labor in those fields.
In a recently published Bloomberg article about the impact of foreign students in the U.S. innovation, Norman Matloff, a professor of computer science at the University of California, Davis, states “a commission appointed by the other top U.S. science agency, the National Institutes of Health, found that a severe oversupply has created a brutal job market for those who pursue doctorates in science research” (Matloff, par. 11). He stands against those claiming that there would be a labor shortage in the STEM job market.
The article also expresses the professor’s perspective concerning the myth that there would be a shortage of American workers in the STEM fields. His point of view is that the only reason why there are incentives to importing foreign workers in the technology industry is “to hold down wages” (Matloff, par. 6). Hiring foreign workers in those fields would cost less money to employers than hiring Americans.
Professor Matloff’s position on the subject was clearer in another section of article. His conception is that the idea that Americans do not like the STEM fields is totally wrong because “the average quality of the international STEM students is lower than that of Americans” (Matloff, par.8). This shows his conviction that there is an effective American labor in these fields. The computer science professor stipulates later in the article that his idea is not to get the foreign students programs shut down, however, educational and career opportunities should be reduced to talented Americans (Matloff, par. 14). This section indicates the nation interest desire of the professor. He wants firstly Americans to take advantage from the tech job market and he is perfectly right to do so because there are many jobless Native Americans struggling.
Suzanne Weiss also mentions this surplus in the job market susceptible to harm Americans. In her article “Wanted: Foreign Students” about this issues, she explains how “some lawmakers are worried that a growing influx of foreign students might limit opportunities for “homegrown” students” (Weiss, page 27).
Alan Brown, in his “Brain Drain” article, talks about some issues raised by some American companies hiring foreign born in their engineering fields. The article points out that “the disadvantages of working with Chinese and Indian engineers were poor communication skills, inadequate experience, cultural differences, and distance” (Brown, par.4), according to them, Chinese engineers would lack loyalty with a “limited big picture mindset” while Indian engineers would have poor “project management skills” (Brown, par. 6-7). Those facts tend to discredit the perfection promoted by American officials about foreign students.
So far, it has been studied how skilled migration has positive and negative impacts of both the countries of immigration and those of emigration. In one hand we have the countries of immigration, such as the United States, in which it is noticed a saturation in the job market for native Americans in the STEM fields. One the other hand, developing countries lack of skilled labors susceptible to help them develop with their expertise generally because of the different social issues of those countries.
As solution for developed countries, Suzanne Weiss mentions the action of Michael Rubio, Senator of California, in which he introduces legislation that limits the number of international students enrolling (Weiss, page 27). This would protect Native Americans from unemployment.
For developing countries, Musumba, Yanhong and Mjelde suggest that as “Career opportunities and social climate are critical factors in influencing students’ preferences as to where they prefer to start their careers. Easier said than done, countries wanting to increase the return of students need to develop policies that decrease the relative differences in these factors between the home countries and the United States”, the developing countries must “raise it wage, promote patriotism to reduce the perceived foreign wage, promote policy that enhance family and cultural values” (Factor Influencing Career…, page 515).
The paper focus was to study the drain brain policy of the United States. This policy being to attract the world scientifically brightest in order to remain the world leader in term of technology shows that it has some weaknesses. The problem takes place in the reverse aspect of this drawing due to a unemployment for native Americans in those STEM fields. The brain also affects the countries of emigration because it constitutes a threat to their development. Solutions have been developed in which countries of immigration should limit the access to their land considering theirs and developing countries should make their social climate more attractive so that they may draw their skilled individuals back.
1. Alberts, Heike C., and Helen D. Hazen. ‘There Are Always Two Voices…’: International Students’ Intentions To Stay In The United States Or Return To Their Home Countries.’ International Migration 43.3 (2005): 131-152. Academic Search Premier. Web. 13 Feb. 2013.
2. Brown, Alan S. “Brain Drain.” Mechanical Engineering 129.5 (2007): 44. Academic Search Premier. Web. 16 Apr. 2013.
3. KABA, AMADU JACKY. “The Status Of Africa’s Emigration Brain Drain In The 21St Century.” Western Journal Of Black Studies 35.3 (2011): 187-195. Academic Search Premier. Web. 11 Apr. 2013.
4. KIM, EUNYOUNG. ‘An Alternative Theoretical Model: Examining Psychosocial Identity Development Of International Students In The United States.’ College Student Journal 46.1 (2012): 99-113. Academic Search Premier. We. 13 Feb. 2013.
5. Matloff, Norman. “How Foreign Students Hurt U.S. Innovation.” Bloomberg. Bloomberg, 11 February 2013. Web. 18 March 2013.
6. Musumba, Mark, and Rajorshi Sen Gupta,James W. Mjelde. “Factors
Influencing Career Location Preferences of International Graduate Students in the United States”. Education Economics. Dec2011, Vol. 19 Issue 5, p501-517. Academic Search Paper. Web. 16 April 2013.
7. Randal, Kate. “Obama announces his immigration ‘reform’ plan.” World Socialist Web Site. World Socialist Web site, 30 January 2013. Web. 18 March 2013
8. United States. Dept. of Immigration. Building a 21st Century Immigration System, 2011-2012. Web. By Felicia, Escobar and Doug Rand. 18 March 2013
9. United States. Senate. NY’S BOOMING TECH INDUSTRIES FACE SHORTAGE OF HIGHLY-QUALIFIED ENGINEERS; INTRODUCES LEGISLATION TO KEEP THE BEST AND BRIGHTEST IN THE U.S. TO FUEL VITAL INDUSTRY, CREATE MORE JOBS AND BOOST ECONOMIC GROWTH, 2012.Web. By Charles E. Schumer. 19 march 2013.
10. WEISS, SUZANNE. “Wanted: Foreign Students.” State Legislatures 39.3 (2013): 24-27. Academic Search Premier. Web. 11 Apr. 2013.