Want a green card? They’d staple one to your diploma.

A bipartisan groups of U.S. senators today unveiled a proposal for comprehensive immigration reform. Most of the attention is focused on the fact that they would create a pathway to citizenship for the millions of undocumented immigrants in the U.S.

But of particular interest to Canada may be a provision that was first proposed by Mitt Romney during the presidential campaign: awarding automatic permanent residence (including the right to work in the U.S.) to students who earn advanced degrees in certain fields at U.S. universities.

The senator’s “framework” says:

The United States must do a better job of attracting and keeping the world’s best and brightest. As such, our immigration proposal will award a green card to immigrants who have received a PhD or Master’s degree in science, technology, engineering, or math from an American university. It makes no sense to educate the world’s future innovators and entrepreneurs only to ultimately force them to leave our country at the moment they are most able to contribute to our economy.

I wrote about this when Romney first proposed it. Some analysts say the move could create a new challenge as Canada competes for skilled immigrants around the world — and seeks to keep its own skilled labour at home:

A policy of automatic permanent residency to foreign students would have “fairly large implications for Canada,” which has sought to attract skilled workers from around the world by taking steps to help foreign students settle permanently in Canada after graduation, says Christopher Warwick, an immigration economist at Carleton University. For foreign students choosing between the U.S. and Canada, “the knowledge that you could get permanent residency and a path to citizenship makes the U.S. more attractive,” he says.

It could also mean more Canadian students would seek to study and stay in the U.S., sparking a “brain drain.” Already, the largest source of foreign-born, masters and PhD students in the U.S. come from Canadian schools, says Don DeVoretz, an economics professor emeritus at Simon Fraser University who specializes in immigration. “This,” he says “would accelerate it.”

Worth watching this one.




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Want a green card? They’d staple one to your diploma.

  1. This will infuriate Americans who’ve seen Bill Gates and other business people push for more green cards for years…..on the grounds they simply can’t find qualified Americans.

  2. I think its obvious what would I prefer sunny California or freeze my behind off winters

  3. What makes “An American university”? Does it have to be one physically based in the US? Or does it mean a university that’s accredited by one of the American accrediting groups?

    Because at least one Canadian university is also accredited in the US as well as Canada.

    • Well their accreditation system, like their whole education system is a mess….so I’m not surprised Americans aren’t qualified for a lot of the jobs.

      I would think most of our universities would be acceptable there. What one were you thinking of?

      • Athabasca University has received formal accreditation from the Middle States Commission of Higher Education.

        And while if you’re looking for jobs there with random companies, most degrees from Canadian Universities will probably be just fine, jobs with gov’t agencies or that require professional certification down in the US usually require a degree that can be verified as from a US accredited institute.

        • Gawd….and their system is so bad otherwise!

          Goodness knows they take our doctors readily enough

          • You have no idea what you are talking about. I am Canadian. Did undergrad in Canada and two grad degrees at top tier schools in the US. The facilities here are amazing. World class.

          • ‘The facilities here’….where? Canada or the US?

            Um…world class? Define world class.

            The US has fallen behind….does so more each day. Everyone is alarmed about it. So there’s no need to slobber.

    • Physically present in the United States. Both the institution and the student.

      • Bummer. Thanks for the info though!

  4. “It could also mean more Canadian students would seek to study and stay in the U.S., sparking a “brain drain.”

    Don’t really see why since there are already no barriers for Canadian citizens with STEM degrees in terms of working in the US. You get offered a job and you get a TN visa under NAFTA. And given the number of jobs requiring science and engineering PhDs available in the States compared to those available in Canada we already have a significant brain drain.

  5. Let me see… SFU or Berkley..? UBC or Stanford..?
    I am outta here, Canada. You can keep Winter, the HST, and Quebec.

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