Graham Allison, professor of government at the Harvard Kennedy School, and Eric Schmidt is a former CEO and executive chairman of Google, describe a strategy to import many talented technical workers. One of their arguments I’ve posted on – the reality that our artificial intelligence workforce is heavily immigrant-based.
Here are a few passages from their article In Foreign Policy
To leverage the United States’ greatest advantage, Biden should immediately announce a commitment to recruit 1 million of the world’s most technically talented individuals by the end of his first term in January 2025. To this end, the U.S. Congress should streamline the country’s immigration rules and establish programs to recruit and retain established tech superstars and the world’s best students researching advanced technologies. And if Congress will not act, then Biden should use his ample executive authority to create a million talents program and promote the United States’ leadership in the technology of the future.
China naturalizes fewer than 100 citizens each year, while the United States naturalizes nearly 1 million people annually. Barriers to China competing in this arena include an insular culture, engrained habits of being unwelcoming to foreigners, and a difficult-to-learn language spoken by few people outside of China.
Washington should grant an additional 250,000 green cards each year. The current backlog of green cards—which entitle their holders to permanent residency and unrestricted work—is well over 1 million for high-skilled immigrants and is projected to grow to nearly 2.5 million by 2030. Right now, the U.S. government is hopelessly behind, approving two applications for every green card it actually issues.
Next, the United States should recruit more geniuses. Granting 100,000 additional visas each year to extraordinary tech talents would go a long way toward strengthening the U.S. technology workforce.
The United States can also boost retention of tech talent by granting immediate permanent residency to every foreign-born doctoral graduate in the STEM subjects. The majority of recent graduates from AI Ph.D. programs in the United States who left the country have cited the cumbersome immigration process as a critical factor in their decision to leave.