WIRED: Cutting H-1B Visas Endangers Scientific Progress For Everyone

President Donald Trump’s recent executive order calling for a sweeping review of the H-1B visa program has raised alarm in STEM-related industries that rely heavily on an international supply of high-skilled labor.

Current policy for H-1B visas, which permit highly skilled foreigners to work in the US temporarily, prohibits employers from undercutting wages or favoring foreign workers over Americans. But the president, along with a sizable bipartisan contingent, claims that the program has enabled private employers, especially those in the tech industry, to flood the labor market and provide temporary training for workers who eventually set up shop abroad. These grievances may be legitimate, but the conversation has largely ignored another industry that depends on the H-1B visa program: academic scientific research.

As a young scientist-in-training, I’ve had the distinct pleasure of working with and learning from a number of exceptionally gifted scientists from around the world. Many of the breakthroughs and discoveries made in labs where I’ve worked were in large part due to the extraordinary contributions of these foreign-born researchers. While Trump has revealed very little about his plans for reforming the policy, the ambiguity of the announcement and his subsequent silence on the issue have left scientists, both American and foreign-born, in a state of grave uncertainty.

Read more from WIRED: Cutting H-1B Visas Endangers Scientific Progress For Everyone

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New American Economy is a bipartisan research and advocacy organization fighting for smart federal, state, and local immigration policies that help grow our economy and create jobs for all Americans. More…