As the eyes of the world are – justifiably – focused on the crisis in Ukraine, a decision taken by the Biden administration may not make the front page of the newspapers, but it will have significant consequences in the United States, as well as in many other countries around the world, including Greece and Cyprus.
The government has decided to change immigration policy and lay the groundwork for welcoming foreign students to study and work in the United States, at least for some period of time.
Specifically, it is interested in issuing visas to students specializing in Science, Technology, Mathematics, Statistics, Computers, and other similar subjects. As is well known, it is in these areas on which research and invention of new technologies is based.
And it is in these areas that China is closing the gap with the United States, with negative consequences for the competitiveness of the American economy and its military superiority.
After all, many inventions and technological breakthroughs have relied on foreign scientists, from the Manhattan project that led to the invention of the nuclear bomb, to many more recent inventions.
And the fact that foreign students with temporary visas earn more than half of the PhDs in science in the United States is a revelation.
This program of the Biden administration will allow foreign students up to three years of study, as well as three years of work.
The program’s shortcoming, however, is that after six years the people will be forced to return to their homelands. And what if in the meantime they have acquired families, etc.? Why not grant them citizenship, under certain conditions, after six years?
This program will have implications in Greece as well. Many graduates in these fields will seek better education and success in the U.S. through this program.
So I would like to suggest to Greece’s capable Minister of Education, Niki Kerameus, to examine this program and create a counterweight for the brain drain. Greece should offer serious, generous incentives for scientists living abroad and for technology companies by creating a mini Silicon Valley, i.e. in Crete, Thessaloniki, or Patras, with industrial zones where they will be able to receive competitive wages to their peers outside of Greece, housing, tax exemptions, improved schools, hospitals, transportation, etc.
Let’s also look closely at Israel’s program, which has made it a superpower in the field of technology.
Let’s not miss the opportunity for something innovative, now that there are people in the Greek government who understand these things. For a modern program, with broad horizons, away from Athens and its bureaucracy, which will give good jobs to young people. Which will contribute to the substantial development of the economy and the reduction of tourism as a percentage of GDP, but also contribute to the strengthening of the national defense.