US to Suspend New Foreign-Scholar Visas: Nature

The US president issued a proclamation expanding limits for foreign workers, including a suspension on new H-1B visas for highly skilled foreign scholars and employees for tech firms. The block will not extend to current visa holders, but that does not ease their uncertainty. “The Trump administration characterized the decision as a plan to stave off the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic, and to prioritize jobs for US citizens,” reports a team for Nature. “Experts slammed the move and argued that foreign talent is necessary to keep the US scientific enterprise competitive.” The US issued more than 188,000 H-1B visas for 2019. About 30 percent of all US science and engineering employees were born outside the country, according to the National Science Foundation. The article describes two specialized visa holders: a physicist from Turkey and a UK infectious-disease ecologist who studies bees. The director of a pancreatic research laboratory in Texas points out that most of the lab’s staff each year are from other countries and ongoing rule changes impose stress. Analysts suggest the United States will be less competitive in research. Some programs and businesses could relocate research facilities to other nations that welcome diverse talent. – YaleGlobal

US to Suspend New Foreign-Scholar Visas: Nature

The US president extends, expands restrictions for foreign workers – including freezing highly skilled H-1B visas that staff universities and tech firms
Nidhi Subbaraman and Alexandra Witze
Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Read the article from Nature about the US expanding labor visa restrictions.

Nidhi Subbaraman reports on COVID-19 and bio/medical research for Nature.  Alexandra Witze is a contributing correspondent based in Boulder, Colorado. She has a bachelor's degree in geology from MIT and a graduate certification in science communication from the University of California, Santa Cruz. Among her honors are the Science-in-Society award from the National Association of Science Writers (shared with Tom Siegfried), and the American Geophysical Union's award for feature journalism. She coauthored the book Island on Fire, about the 18th-century eruption of the Icelandic volcano Laki.

Read the “The State of U.S. Science and Engineering 2020” from the National Science Foundation: “Scientific discovery and R&D increase the storehouse of knowledge, which then enables invention, innovation, and societal and economic benefits.”

Foreign-Born Individuals as percent of workforce for technical sectors, representing about 30 percent of all tech workers with backhelors degrees and about 40 percent for those with masters and doctorates
(Source: National Science Foundation)

Skilled Technical Workers by Occupation, 2017	 Other	11% Construction/extraction	21% Health care	20% Installation, maintenance, repair	20% Production	16% Architecture/engineering	5% Computer/math	8%
Skilled workforce: The US workforce includes about 17 million skilled technical workers, employed in occupations that require science and engineering expertise and technical knowledge – and shortages could disrupt many industries  (Source: National Science Foundation)

Shares of Worldwide Patent Families Granted to Inventors by Economy: 2018	 China	49.40% Japan	17.50% S Korea	12% EU	7.20% US	6.80% Other	7.10%
Innovation share: Many inventions are patented in multiple international jurisdictions, and data on patent families provide a broad unduplicated measure of such inventions; engineering-related inventions made up more than half of all these global patent families in 2018 (Source: National Science Foundation)

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