Every year, American universities issue advanced degrees to foreign entrepreneurs, scientists, and engineers only to send them back abroad upon graduation. Retaining more of the talented foreigners who graduate with viable ideas for startups would create jobs for Americans and foster entrepreneurship in our cities. As Matthew La Corte and I write in a recent post on the website of the Niskanen Center, several states, cities, and universities are showing the way.
Better legal immigration options for foreign students would alleviate shortages for skilled worker, boost economic growth, and promote job creation for all Americans. An innovative program in Massachusetts shows how it can be done.
It’s called the Global Entrepreneur in Residence Program (GEIR), and it’s becoming a model for capturing more of the value of America’s world-leading universities by keeping job creators on American soil. GEIR is aimed at retaining the entrepreneurial foreign graduates who, despite their talents, lost the lottery for H-1B visas.
The concept is simple: universities are granted an exemption from the H-1B high-skilled worker visa cap. By working part-time at the university and part-time on their start-up, a foreign student can stay in the U.S. and build a business, facilitating job creation for locals.