Green card backlogs are pushing Indian STEM PhD graduates from US universities to stay back on temporary residency
Chinese and Indians form more than half the international STEM PhD students in the US. But a new report by the US-based think tank, Centre for Security and Emerging Technology (CSET) has found that such students stay on in the US for a long time.
The report said that approximately 87% of Indian nationals who finished their STEM PhDs between 2000 and 2015 in the were still living in the country, whereas only about 66% students from the other countries stayed back.
According to the CSET analysis of data collected by the National Science Foundation’s survey of Doctorate Recipients, as of February 2017, about 77% of the over 178000 international STEM PhD graduates in the US according to the data. “Due to country caps on green cards, Indian graduates have more difficulty obtaining permanent residency in the US than other international students,” the CSET said.
As of April 2022, over 380000 Indian nationals were still waiting for employment based green cards even after their applications being approved.
About 28000 Indian nationals got their STEM PhDs from various US universities in 2000-2015. It also stated, “in February 2017, 12% of those Indians who had completed their PhD in 2004-07 were still living in the US as temporary residents.
If the trend continues, more recent students will naturally try to stay back longer on temporary residency – the only other option is to leave the US altogether, the CSET concluded.