American universities are among the best in the world. Some of the best and brightest young students worldwide apply to universities such as Harvard, Stanford, UCLA, Duke, and Yale. They come to the United States, looking for an advanced education in science or mathematics or other professions. They get it, and then they are unable to get permanent resident visas. So they take their skills and education back home, where countries such as China, India, or economically developing countries welcome them with open arms.
Why are these immigrant visas being denied? Tighter regulations imposed by the United States Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) are causing many people to have permanent visas denied after the completion of their college educations. Others are finding such tight restrictions placed on the immigration of their spouses that they choose instead to immigrate to another country or return to their homeland to offer their skills to that national government instead.
What does this mean for the future of the United States with regard to technology and economics? As the country’s best universities educate the best and brightest students, those foreign students who are currently residing in America are being offered little or no incentive to remain. Unfortunately, the end result is that the United States “exports” some of the best products of its university education.
The skills of those who leave are offered, and logically so, to the countries that welcome them. As a result, however, American technology, science, and computer engineering fields have begun to lag somewhat. People no longer turn to the United States as the first authority on technology. The final outcome of this vicious cycle, however, is only beginning to be felt: As the students leave, the future professors of America’s most prestigious universities also leave.
One way to fight this current of change is to find ways to help students obtain foreign credential evaluations that will help them to remain in the United States. The H1-B visa and the I-140 are two means of accomplishing this, but the requirements can be very stringent. Sometimes, graduating students are encouraged to remain, but their spouses still living overseas are denied immigration visas because their foreign degree evaluations do not demonstrate the required academic credentials.
Some of these spouses or significant others have degrees that can be, through a foreign degree evaluation, be demonstrated as the U.S. equivalency to a Bachelor’s Degree or even a higher degree. In these situations, however, the applicant must be knowledgeable about the immigrations process, or find a good attorney in the United States who is willing to represent them and help them to accomplish this crucial step.
While many agencies are available to help, few are knowledgeable about the finer points of translating international credentials into their US equivalencies. For this reason, many deserving immigrants who have foreign diplomas are denied visas. Only a few continue to work hard for their clients and ensure that they remain updated on the latest immigration visa laws and foreign degree requirements. One foreign credential evaluation agency that continues to put its clients first is Career Consulting International.
Hopefully, at some point in the near future, the problem can be solved through processes such as increasing the number of immigration visas granted each year. Alternatively, perhaps special leniency should be given for visa requirements for spouses or significant others who have not yet entered the United States. For now, though, the only solution that is easily visible is to swim against the tide of emigration – one visa application and one foreign credential evaluation at a time.