Wednesday, May 14, 2014 at 1am

Thousands Stand to Benefit from New US Visa Rules: MBA News

Thousands Stand to Benefit from New US Visa Rules: MBA News main image

Proposed changes to the US visa rules system, criticized as draconian for preventing some of the world’s brightest talent from securing residency, are currently being passed through the legislative machine.  

“The fact is, we must do more to retain and attract world-class talent to the United States and these regulations put us on a path to doing that. These actions promise to unleash more of the extraordinary contributions that immigrants have always made to America’s innovation economy,” said secretary of commerce for the US, Penny Pritzker, in a press release for The Department of Homeland Security (DHS.)

Considering that 51% of prospective MBA students will now base their choice of business school around where they wish to work after graduation (according to the results of the QS Applicant Survey 2013), the intended visa rules will interest any international student who has been put off by the number of hurdles currently in place before they can secure post-study work (PSW) visas in the US.

Overall, The DHS has proposed three changes to US visa rules that would benefit three differing groups of people:

1. Spouses of those in the H-1B visa program

The husbands and wives of those in the H-1B visa program used by US businesses were previously treated as ‘dependents’ and lacked the right to work. The new US visa rules would allow these H-4 visa holders to apply for permission to work once their spouses (the H-1B visa holders) have begun the process of applying for permanent residency ‘green cards’. It is thought that 100,000 spouses of H-1B visa holders would stand to benefit from this amendment, as well as a further 30,000 annually. Current estimates hold that the H-1B visa is issued to 85,000 people each year, of which just under a quarter (20,000) go to students graduating from US universities.

2. Professors looking to gain an EB-1 US visa

The EB-1 US visa is an employment-based permanent residency category for ‘priority workers’, including ‘outstanding professors or researchers’. A further change in visa rules would expand the ways in which individuals can prove eligibility for an EB-1, thus making it easier to attract top-level professors to the US.

This change to EB-1 qualifications would have clear implications for leading business schools looking to get the brightest international minds in business education onto their faculty. In fact, just last year Harvard rued widespread shortages in business school faculty across all disciplines, particularly in finance, that is being linked to a decline in the number of business PhDs that qualified for the EB-1.  

3. Highly-skilled US visa holders who wish to remain in the US

This proposed change in US visa rules would apply specifically to highly-skilled workers from Chile, Singapore and Australia who wish to remain in the US. The change would update the list of specialty occupation professionals who are ‘authorized for employment incident to status with a specific employer’ (i.e. employer-sponsored visas), to include professionals from these countries, removing current obstacles in their path to securing job opportunities.

NAFSA, the Association of International Educators, welcomed the proposals. “Our broken immigration system makes it difficult for people to attend our colleges and universities, contribute to our economy, integrate into our communities, and educate the next generation of global leaders,” said CEO and executive director of NAFSA, Marlene Johnson, in University World News.

The success of these proposed new US visa rules will become clear over the new four months. First, the measures must be published in the Federal Register. There will then be two months during which time comments for and against the proposals can be submitted, followed by a 30-day waiting period for any new US visa cards to be issued should the changes go into effect.

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