Georgetown study finds that the U.S. is depriving itself of vital foreign talent in the field of artificial intelligence and recommends policy changes to make the country more attractive in the international competition for global AI talent

A report published by the Georgetown Center for Security and Emerging Technology discusses the challenges faced by immigrants with skills in artificial intelligence and related fields seeking to find work in the U.S.  They must contend with limited, costly, and uncertain pathways to temporary or permanent residence, as well as an inhospitable regulatory environment. Unsurprisingly, and despite shortages of AI talent here, many are beginning to find other countries, such as Canada, France, and China, more attractive destinations, especially as those countries roll out the red carpet for AI talent. The report discusses the nature and limitations of current visa programs, such as the OPT, H-1B, and employment-based green card programs, and provides a series of policy recommendations to restore American competitiveness in attracting talent from abroad. Among the most important reforms would be eliminating or indexing the current caps on H-1B visas and employment-based green cards, and eliminating the current annual 7 percent per-country caps on green cards, which severely disadvantage Asian Indian and Chinese talent. The latter reform is consistent with recent bipartisan legislation introduced in Congress.

Immigration Policy and the U.S. AI Sector,
Center for Security and Emerging Technology, Georgetown University, September 2019, 39 pp.
Authors: Zachary Arnold et al