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Facebook exec suggests feds staple a visa to every high-tech diploma

November 8, 2011 |  5:11 pm


Facebook's chief operating officer has some advice for federal immigration officials. Sheryl Sandberg said she blames U.S. immigration laws for failing to help keep talented foreign students, especially engineers, in the United States. 

She said that rather than send foreign students back to their home countries after they graduate from top-tier U.S. universities, immigration officials should consider "stapling a visa to every high-tech diploma."

Sandberg made the comments on the "Charlie Rose Show" that aired Monday. She was joined by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg. Both suggested high-tech companies have struggled to attract and keep engineers who are in high demand in this country.

Foreign students on temporary visas accounted for nearly a third of all science doctorates earned at U.S. universities in 2006 and nearly 60% of the math doctorates, according to a 2010 report.

Sandberg disputed claims that foreign students displace U.S. workers. They create jobs rather than take them, she said.

She's not the only one saying immigration laws need to be overhauled. A growing number of business leaders have said U.S. immigration laws fail to embrace foreign talent. And New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg recently said the current laws are pushing out the best and the brightest.

Critics and supporters of more high-tech visas are sure to get fired up after Monday's interview.
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Photo: Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg talks to reporters during the Facebook f8 Developer Conference in San Francisco. Credit: Kimihiro Hoshino/ AFP/Getty Images.

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