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Beryl Lieff Benderly

A Bonus for Hiring Foreign Scientists?

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is making it possible for more foreign students to extend their visas and stay in the United States for “optional practical training.”  By doing so, it is also giving companies an economic reason to hire them in place of comparable Americans, says David North of the Center for Immigration Studies, a non-profit research institute in Washington, DC.  Because neither the holders of these extensions nor those who employ them will have to make Social Security or Medicare contributions, “companies would get a 7.56 percent discount by hiring a foreign student under this program, something that creates an ‘unequal playing field’ for other college grads,” reports Fox News.

This “gives the employer a bonus for hiring the foreign worker,” which will make “some people very attractive,” says North in the article.
“The Immigration and Customs Enforcement [part of DHS] statement announcing the expansion said the change is meant to ‘address shortages in certain high tech sectors of talented scientists,'” the article continues.  For those talented scientists who don’t pay Social Security taxes because they can’t find work in a brutal job market, the existence of this talent shortage may also come as news.