Joe Biden's immigration policy has some interesting policies for PhDs.
Biden will exempt from any cap recent graduates of PhD programs in STEM fields in the U.S. who are poised to make some of the most important contributions to the world economy. Biden believes that foreign graduates of a U.S. doctoral program should be given a green card with their degree and that losing these highly trained workers to foreign economies is a disservice to our own economic competitiveness.
Biden will submit an immigration plan to congress soon but it is not clear if the above will be in the bill, whether it will survive negotiations or even whether an immigration bill will be passed at all.
Nevertheless I worry about the unintended consequences of this policy. It will encourage students to apply and come for a PhD who have no interest in research, but want the green card. It gives too much power to professors who may abuse their students who need the PhD. Conversely it will pressure professors and thesis committees to grant PhDs because there would be a big difference between graduating with a PhD and leaving early with a Masters. By making the PhD so valuable, we may devalue it.
The solution is to give green cards to Masters students as well. We shouldn't limit talented researchers and developers who can help the United States keep its technology edge. They don't take jobs away from Americans, but instead help create new ones.