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As discussed in the previous section, highly skilled immigrants make a major contribution to US education, research, entrepreneurship, and society. Therefore, it is important to encourage not only students and scholars to stay, but also other people with science, engineering, and mathematics PhDs regardless of where they receive their PhDs.

For the United States to remain competitive with Europe, Canada, and Australia in attracting these international highly skilled workers, the United States should implement a points-based immigration system. As discussed in a recent Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development report,16 skill-based immigration points systems, although not widespread, are starting to develop. Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and the UK use such systems to recruit highly skilled workers. The Czech Republic set up a pilot project that started in 2004.

In 2004, the European Union Justice and International Affairs council adopted a recommendation to facilitate researchers from non-EU countries, which asks member states to waive requirements for residence permits or to issue them automatically or through a fast-track procedure and to set no quotas that would restrict their admission. Permits should be renewable and family reunification facilitated. The European Commission has adopted a directive for a special admissions procedure for third-world nationals coming to the EU to perform research. This procedure will be in force in 2006.

  • Canada has put into place a points-based program aimed at fulfilling its policy objectives for migration, particularly in relation to the labor-market situation. The admission of skilled workers depends more on human capital (language skills and diplomas, professional skills, and adaptability) than on specific abilities.17 Canada has also instituted a business-immigrant selection program to attract investors, entrepreneurs, and self-employed workers.

20,000). The bill also raised the H-1B fee and allocated funds to train American workers. The committee believes that this provision is sufficient to respond to its recommendation—even though the 10,000 additional visas recommended is specifically for science and engineering doctoral candidates from US universities, which is a narrower subgroup.


Unless otherwise noted, policies listed are from an overview presented in Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. Trends in International Migration: 2004 Annual Report. Paris: OECD, 2005. OECD members countries include Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Korea, Luxembourg, Mexico, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, the Slovak Republic, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and the United States.


Applicants can check online their chances to qualify for migration to Canada as skilled workers. A points score is automatically calculated to determine entry to Canada under the Skilled Worker category. See Canadian Immigration Points Calculator Web site at:

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