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such systems to recruit highly skilled workers. The United Kingdom has been doing so since 2001, and 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 the immigration of researchers from non-EU countries, asking 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. Also, the European Commission has adopted a directive for a special admissions procedure for third-world nationals coming to the EU to perform research.


Declines in international student applications for entry to US graduate schools have stimulated considerable discussion and more than a few warnings that our national S&E capacity may have begun to weaken. In 2002, the National Science Foundation noted a decrease in first-time full-time S&E graduate enrollments among temporary residents, by about 8% for men and 1% for women.21 At the same time, first-time full-time S&E graduate-student enrollment increased by almost 14% for US citizens and permanent residents—15% for men and more than 12% for women (see Figure IS-1).

More recent surveys by the Council on Graduate Schools showed dramatic decreases in applications among international students for the 2003 academic year but much smaller decreases in admissions. Applications and admissions for domestic students did not change appreciably during this period, whereas enrollments decreased by 5%. There appear to be much smaller effects on applications for the 2004 academic year (see Table IS-2).

These declines were partly in response to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, after which it became clear to everyone that the issuance and monitoring of visas are as important to graduate education as the training experience. Even more so, however, the declines reflect increasing global competition for graduate students amid the globalization of S&E education and research.


Given the fast-rising global tide of S&E infrastructure and training, it would be surprising if the S&E education and research enterprise currently dominated by the United States did not begin to change into a more global


National Science Foundation. Graduate Enrollment in Science and Engineering Fields Reaches New Peak; First-Time Enrollment of Foreign Students Declines. NSF 04-326. Arlington, VA: National Science Foundation, 2004.

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