The US Needs New Tools to Attract International Students
Although immigration is a controversial topic among the American population, especially when it comes to vulnerable communities such as asylum seekers and irregular immigration, there is also a common clarity about the great contribution of certain foreign populations such as highly qualified workers, farmers and international students.
This is even more important now that the country is gradually emerging from a health crisis that greatly affected the economy and slowed down the financial flow of local companies, both small and large. Therefore, immigration, especially in relation to international students and foreign workers, has created a gigantic debate in different sectors of society because the country needs to increase immigration levels to boost the economy and balance the social gap between the working-age population and the retirement-age population, which came to light recently thanks to the 2020 National Census results.
When it comes to international students, educational institutions such as colleges and universities (many of which are internationally recognized) consistently argue that foreign students contribute greatly to the education sector and that the US needs to expand international education programs as soon as possible to continue attracting talent from abroad in times of crisis.
Let’s look at some important facts:
- International students invest between $40 and $45 billion annually to be able to study in the US. Thanks to this investment, local colleges and universities have the possibility to improve their infrastructure, offer subsidies or discounts to American students and invest in research to improve the quality of their study programs.
- Apart from the economic contribution, international students also bring talent, innovation, integration, diversity, dedication, expertise, enthusiasm, multiculturalism, inter alia.
- Despite the Trump administration trying to narrow options available to international students over the past four years, the US continues to be one of the top destinations for millions of foreign students and that is an advantage for the Biden administration.
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Now is the right time for the US to create post-study programs
The US, unlike many countries around the world such as the UK, China, Canada, and Australia, does not have many options available to newly graduated foreign-born students. In fact, most of them must leave the country after completing their OPT (Optional Practical Training) period as they do not always have opportunities to stay and gain work experience in local companies.
Therefore, it is extremely important that the Biden-Harris administration seize the opportunity it currently has to:
- Attract more foreign students now that the health risk is decreasing thanks to the national vaccination program. With the investment from international students, the education sector could help boost the economy again.
- Create post-study programs so that international students can stay in the US after completing their studies. In this way, they would also contribute greatly to the socioeconomic development of local companies and participate in entrepreneurship projects, which would also stimulate economic flow and create jobs for the local population in the medium and long term.
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This is also the right time to start your immigration journey
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