Theoretical physicist and bestselling author Dr. Michio Kaku has been and continues to be very candid about what is actually keeping the United States scientific establishment from collapsing: the H1B visa program.
Nicknamed the “Genius Visa,” holding an H1B visa enables foreign nationals with advanced degrees to live and work in the United States for up to six years. This Visa ensures that they get prevailing industry wages and benefits, and that the companies that hire H1B visa holders can take on these new hires without cutting into the wages and benefits of other employees. This Visa offers a unique opportunity for highly skilled workers to live and work in the United States long-term, with their families. It is a Visa of dual-intent, so while it is a non-immigrant Visa, H1B Visa holders can choose to pursue pathways to citizenship.
About 70% of all H1B Visas go to workers in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) industries. Why is this?
“Science is the engine of prosperity,” Dr. Kaku explains. “The United States has the worst educational system known to science.”
Students in the United States are not graduating high school or even college with the math and science skills necessary to fill the growing number of high tech jobs in places like Silicon Valley. According to Dr. Kaku, Silicon Valley would not even exist without the H1B Visa program because people coming to the United States to work on these Visas fill the positions that create entire STEM industries. Wall Street Journal agrees that when it comes to the highest level jobs at the highest level technology companies, Americans simply are not qualified. H1B workers are needed to create jobs for US citizens in these same industries because high-level jobs are necessary to create lower-tiered jobs in the industry through which US citizens can develop expertise through industry experience. Without a doubt, the “genius visa” is the secret ingredient that keeps STEM industries in the United States from collapsing.
While it may come as a surprise to some that Silicon Valleys are popping up in countries like China and India, it actually makes all the sense in the world because these are the countries that the top-level Silicon Valley engineers and developers are coming from. School systems in these countries cultivate strong scientific minds, and the United States attracts them with the H1B Visa program.
STEM industries aren’t the only fields attracting foreign geniuses. Dr. Kaku reports that 50% of all PhD candidates in the United States are foreign born, building the backbone of graduate programs in the country. Without the H1B visa program, 50% of all PhD candidates in the United States simply would not exist.
To qualify for H1B Visa status, a candidate must hold an advanced degree in a specialized field. That means having earned a bachelor’s degree or higher in a specialized field that matches their field of employ. While this sounds straightforward, variance of academic structures across borders muddles the value of any given degree. H1B Visa candidates are running into trouble getting their Visas approved because employers understand the value of their foreign education, but the USICS needs the value clearly articulated in terms of US educational standards. Candidates with three-year bachelor’s degrees in particular are running into trouble. When a candidate files his or her H1B Visa petition, an evaluation of their foreign degree must be included.
“Credential evaluation is a highly specialized process,” explains International Education expert and credential evaluator Sheila Danzig. “When we evaluate foreign credentials for US equivalence, we have to take classroom contact hours, USCIS and other legal precedents, university admissions decisions, and documented investigations into foreign education equivalencies into account to clearly spell out the value of your education.”
Dr. Kaku’s and the Wall Street Journal’s observations about the state of the US educational system are clearly reflected in the demographics of high-level tech jobs. All the same, the H1B Visa program requires candidates to prove their genius to their employers and graduate programs, as well as the bureaucracies that approve their visas.
About the Author
Sheila Danzig is the Executive Director of CCI TheDegreePeople.com a Foreign Credentials Evaluation Agency. For a no charge analysis of any difficult case, RFEs, Denials, or NOIDs, please go to http://www.ccifree.com or call 800.771.4723.
This article was written by Rebecca Little