The president of Yale University said the U.S. isntissuingenough work visas to the highly trained foreigners whograduatefrom U.S. universities each year.
Visiting Beijing, Richard C. Levin said that raising the caponso-called H-1B visas, especially for holders of doctoratedegrees,is a way to ensure Americas competitiveness. If he had hisway, hesaid, he would staple green cards, as permanent residentcards areknown, to their Ph.D. diplomas.
The industrial demand for highly trained scientists andengineersis huge. Why are we forcing these people to go back totheir homecountries and then complaining about it? he said inaninterview.
The U.S. Congress permits 85,000 H-1B visas to be issuedeachyear, of which about 20,000 are reserved for foreigners withagraduate degree from the U.S. There were so many applicationsthisyear the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Servicesstoppedaccepting forms one day after it started the process.
Employers have put pressure on Congress to raise the visaquota,but last years immigration bill failed to go through.Companieswant it. The universities favor it, Mr. Levin said.
Mr. Levin arrived in China on Wednesday with a100-strongdelegation of students and faculty for a 10-day trip. Thevisit isthe result of an invitation Chinas President Hu Jintaoextendedlast year when he gave a speech at Yale. The delegation metbrieflywith Mr. Hu on Wednesday.
Mr. Levin said the university selected students for the tripwhohad never been to China, as part of a move to get everyYalestudent international exposure. He said that Yale is settingupmany programs so that every student has the opportunity to liveandstudy abroad. In the future, he said, ones career is goingtorequire working across borders.
In particular, he described U.S.-China relations as themostcrucial bilateral relationship in the world center now.
As for China, Mr. Levin said its universities are beginningtoembrace a broad American-style liberal-arts training, althoughthatis happening only at the elite universities.
Almost all Chinese undergraduates now declare a major duringtheirfirst year and then specialize in it. But at PekingUniversity, asmany as 10% of students take a broad range ofsubjects for 1 1/2years before they pick a concentration. FudanUniversity has gonefurther, adopting the liberal-arts model forall its freshmen, hesaid.
He said those changes will eventually lead to moreinnovation.The Chinese have recognized that part of the secret ofAmericaseconomic success is the capacity to innovate bothscientificallyand technologically, and also entrepreneurially. Thisis tied upwith the system of education that we have, Mr. Levinsaid.