Trump: only the best scientists still welcome18 April 2017
President Trump is keen to sign a decree Wednesday that will make it difficult for foreigners to go to the United States to work. Graduates will soon find it less easy to prolong their stay.
The decree concerns the popular H-1B visa that enables universities and companies to take on temporary foreign staff. This visa is valid only for certain groups. Applicants must have at least a Bachelor's degree and, what's more, a signed employment contract. Many foreign lecturers and researchers at American universities depend on the visa.
According to news broadcaster Al Jazeera, the visa is also often used by the ICT industry in Silicon Valley, where many foreign scientists and young graduates are employed. In America such capable staff are hard to find, claim these companies.
The White House is worried that the visa will be misused in order to bring cheap labor into the country. Last January the University of California came under attack because it had dismissed forty-nine well-paid ICT staff and outsourced their work to India.
The new decree is called 'Buy American, Hire American'. A strict approval regime is intended to ensure that the visas are issued only to the “highest paid and best experts” and that Americans are not disadvantaged. Critics are referring to the decision as “gesture politics”.
Foreign students should not in principle be hindered by the new decree because they gain entry to the US under a different type of visa. Only when they want to stay on and work might they encounter problems.
This is not an inconceivable scenario, says Anne Lutgerink of internationalization organization Nuffic. “We are seeing that increasing numbers of Dutch students are not only considering a study program abroad but are also interested in the possibilities offered by the local employment market.”
The quality of education seems to have slipped at TU/e. In the latest Dutch-language guide to universities (Keuzegids Universiteiten), Eindhoven's university has dropped from third place in the overall ranking to seventh place in the course of a year. "It's understandable but it's not good," says President of the Executive Board Jan Mengelers, "and it is all the more reason to push on with introducing an upper limit on student intake to our programs. This is a result of the strong growth in student numbers."
Eindhoven's iGEM team has arrived in Boston. In the coming days, the students will participate in the Giant Jamboree, competing with nearly three hundred teams from all over the world. Their competition entry is their project GUPPI, in which they propose encapsulating tumors in a gel to prevent them growing and spreading.
As well as professors, from now on associate professors (UHD-1) at TU/e may also confer doctoral degrees on PhD candidates. Sixty associate professors were awarded the right to confer doctoral degrees at the start of this academic year after the move was approved by the Upper House of Parliament in the Netherlands shortly before the summer recess. “We couldn't wait to introduce this here.”
Before you google yet another one of my invented diseases and subsequently begin to question the title of this story, let me tell you this. With a new academic year having begun and a shiny new batch of freshmen accompanying it, the university is full of people suffering from the so-called octopus syndrome.