High-skilled Immigration Policy: FAS’s Current and Future Contributions

By and December 22, 2021

Since the creation of this country, the American scientific enterprise has been built by talented immigrants. FAS has worked to strengthen the U.S. immigration system to ensure that experts in all scientific fields, as well as entrepreneurs with innovative ideas are able to build lives in the United States. Over the past two years, FAS has focused on many different aspects of the immigration system to improve these highly skilled immigrants’ ability to settle here. These aspects include:

  • Strengthening the International Entrepreneur Rule to assist startup founders who wish to establish their businesses in the United States and create economic growth and jobs for American workers.
  • Outlining the importance of recapturing unused and lost green cards and how the federal government must act to reduce the backlog of petitions for permanent residency.
  • Evaluating how scientific accomplishments in the field of artificial intelligence (AI) can apply to various skilled visa pathways to attract more AI experts to the United States and bolster the country’s national security and economic growth.
  • Examining the immigration processes and budgets at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to ensure the agency performs as effectively as possible.
  • Updating and increasing the size of the H-1B Nonimmigrant Petitioner Account to support more domestic STEM education and workforce development training programs with a portion of H-1B application fees.
  • Encouraging the use of the Department of Labor’s Schedule A list to quickly bring in more workers to support occupations experiencing labor shortages in the United States.

While international scientists have played a huge role in establishing the United States as the best place to conduct scientific research and start innovative businesses, they also helped launch FAS over 75 years ago. FAS was started because scientists who worked with accomplished immigrants such as Enrico Fermi, John von Neumann, and Leo Szilard on the Manhattan Project, wanted to use science and technology to benefit humanity, instead of destroying it. Immigrants still have a crucial role in maintaining the United States’ reputation as a leader in scientific research and innovation. The development of the COVID-19 vaccine is just one example. Moderna’s CEO, Stéphane Bancel, emigrated from France. The company’s Chief Medical Officer, Tal Zaks, was born in Israel. Albert Bourla, the CEO of Pfizer, moved to the United States from Greece. Additionally, Katalin Karikó, who laid the groundwork for the development of mRNA vaccines, was born in Hungary. The U.S. federal government must act to ensure that talented individuals like these can come to the country as quickly and easily as possible.

FAS is dedicated to promoting the importance of all aspects of science and technology research in the federal arena. For us to continue this work for the next 75 years, we ask for support from donors like you. Your support helps fund all of FAS’ important work, from the Day One Project, to the Nuclear Information Project, to the Congressional Science Policy Initiative.