Foreign Visas & Universities — Federal & State Proposals: More Proactive Policies for Economic Development?

This week Senator Mark Warner introduced bipartisan legislation that would update regulatory and tax policies to encourage entrepreneurs and innovators to launch new companies and create jobs. The Start-Up Act, introduced with Sen. Jerry Moran, includes various elements. Most importantly, it provides visa reform for foreign-born students earning advanced degrees from U.S. colleges and starting companies based on science, technology, engineering, and math.
Great idea. Another good idea is to require universities more generally to be proactive in economic development.
Specifically, new federal legislation should require foreign graduate students, applying for these new visas, to complete information annually regarding economic opportunities they may know of concerning foreign firms interested in investing in the United States. If we provide easier visas for foreign students to stay in the U.S. and to work, it is not unreasonable to request them to help assist the United States to increase foreign trade and investment between the U.S. and their home countries. This suggestion is consistent with the underlying job-creation policy of the proposed legislation.
In addition, new state laws should be enacted to require public universities to request all foreign graduate students to provide similar information as above.  This could be a condition for universities to receive greater financial support from state governments.
The aim here is for new federal and state legislation to require foreign graduate students and state universities to assist in promoting global trade and investment in order to promote jobs in the U.S.
These innovative provisions are intended to help with economic development and job creation in the U.S. The issues of jobs and economic development are the most critical issues confronting the American economy today.

Governor Mark Warner and Stuart Malawer (in China 2004)

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About Stuart Malawer

Distinguished Service Professor of Law & International Trade at George Mason University (School of Public Policy).
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