Issue Date: May 21, 2012
Bill Proposes New Student Visa
A new student visa for foreign graduate students in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields will be the focus of bipartisan legislation announced last week by Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Chris Coons (D-Del.). Not yet formally introduced, the planned Sustaining Our Most Advanced Researchers & Technology Jobs Act of 2012 would give foreign STEM graduate students 12 months after graduation to find a job in the U.S. If they find a job, then they would receive a green card allowing them to work in the U.S. “Why send them home to create jobs in other countries?” Alexander asks. Coons notes that U.S. immigration policy has not kept up with a world where emerging economies such as China, India, and Brazil compete fiercely for STEM talent. “It’s time for us to modernize,” Coons says. The senators say the idea for the bill comes from “Rising Above The Gathering Storm,” an influential National Research Council report designed to address U.S. competitiveness in science and engineering.
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