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Far beyond their role in Silicon Valley, the professional and social networks that link new immigrant entrepreneurs with each other have become global institutions that connect new immigrants with their counterparts at home. These new transnational communities provide the shared information, contacts, and trust that allow local producers to participate in an increasingly global economy.

Silicon Valley’s Taiwanese engineers, for example, have built a vibrant two-way bridge connecting them with Taiwan’s technology community. Their Indian counterparts have become key middlemen linking U.S. businesses to low-cost software expertise in India. These cross-Pacific networks give skilled immigrants a big edge over mainstream competitors who often lack the language skills, cultural know-how, and contacts to build business relationships in Asia. The long-distance networks are accelerating the globalization of labor markets and enhancing opportunities for entrepreneurship, investment, and trade both in the United States and in newly emerging regions in Asia.13

In response to those findings, the committee, in this proposed action, is endorsing a recommendation made by the Council on Competitiveness in its report Innovate America14 to extend a 1-year automatic visa extension to international students who receive doctorates or the equivalent in science, technology, engineering, mathematics, or other fields of national need at qualified US institutions to remain in the United States to seek employment. If these students are offered jobs by US-based employers and pass a security screening test, they should be provided automatic work permits and expedited residence status. If students are unable to obtain employment within 1 year, their visas would expire.


The federal government should institute a new skills-based, preferential immigration option. Doctoral-level education and science and engineering skills would substantially raise an applicant’s chances and priority in obtaining US citizenship. In the interim, the number of H-1B visas should be increased by 10,000, and the additional visas should be available for industry to hire science and engineering applicants with doctorates from US universities.15


A. Saxenian. “Brain Circulation: How High-Skill Immigration Makes Everyone Better Off.” The Brookings Review 20(1)(Winter 2002). Washington, DC: The Brookings Institute, 2002.


Council on Competitiveness. Innovate America. Washington, DC: Council on Competitiveness, 2004.


Since the report was released, the committee has learned that the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2005, signed into law on December 8, 2004, exempts individuals that have received a master’s or higher education degree from a US university from the statutory cap (up to

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