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U.s. Keeps Foreign Ph.d.s

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Carnegie Mellon Research Assistant Professor Joy Ying Zhang

Joy Ying Zhang, working in his office at Carnegie Mellon's Silicon Valley campus, says he doesn't plan to return to China.

Credit: Brian L. Frank / The Wall Street Journal

Most foreigners who came to the U.S. to earn doctorate degrees in science and engineering stayed on after graduation — at least until the recession began — refuting predictions that post-9/11 restrictions on immigrants or expanding opportunities in China and India would send more of them home.

Newly released data revealed that 62 percent of foreigners holding temporary visas who earned Ph.D.s in science and engineering at U.S. universities in 2002 were still in the U.S. in 2007, the latest year for which figures are available. Of those who graduated in 1997, 60 percent were still in the U.S. in 2007, according to the data compiled by the U.S. Energy Department's Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education for the National Science Foundation.


Foreigners account for about 40 percent of all science and engineering Ph.D. holders working in the U.S., and a larger fraction in engineering, math and computer fields. "Our ability to continue to attract and keep foreign scientists and engineers is critical to . . . increase investment in science and technology," says Oak Ridge analyst Michael Finn.

From The Wall Street Journal
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