Congressman Shri Thanedar introduces bipartisan bill to keep Ph.D. graduates in America

Candidate for Congress from Michigan’s 13th District, Shri Thanedar declaring his win November 8, 2022. Photo: Facebook @ShriForMI

It is his first term in the US Congress, but Rep. Shri Thanedar, D-Michigan, has become a visible presence not just for escorting Prime Minister Narendra Modi into the Joint Session of Congress June 22, 2023, but also pushing for immigration reform, holding townhall’s with his Michigan district residents, working on issues confronting small business, etc.

On June 23, Rep. Thanedar introduced the Putting Highest Degrees (PhDs) First Act.

“The bill seeks to increase America’s global competitiveness and to grow the economy by filling a critical gap in the United States employment sector,” his press release says.

The bill provides what he says is “a streamlined pathway for permanent residency for individuals who earn a Ph.D. degree from an accredited U.S college or university,” with the caveat that individuals must also have a job offer that pays the median wage for their occupation and area.

Due to America’s strength in higher level education, students around the world choose to study in America, he notes, adding that because of this, 40% of newly awarded doctoral degrees from 2000 to 2019, were awarded to international students. At Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan, alone, 35% of Ph.D. candidates, amounting to 418 people, are international students.

“However, after finishing their education, many of these individuals choose to leave America and take jobs elsewhere,” the press release points out. Because of “strict quotas and visa backlogs that have created unnecessary hurdles, America loses the expertise of many high skilled individuals, it says.

With the need for STEM related jobs increasing by 34%, there is a present need for individuals with higher education, the Congressman notes. “To fill this gap and increase the retention for Ph.D. holding individuals, the bill removes the barriers that make it difficult for individuals to remain in America.”

“When I immigrated to America, I had only $20 in my pocket. Through education, I was able to build the life I wanted. I really was able to live the quintessential American dream. After receiving a Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of Akron, I was able to build multiple small businesses that created more than 500 well-paying jobs across Michigan. I credit education as the reason for my success,” Rep. Thanedar says.



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