TechNet Applauds Bipartisan Coons-Alexander High-Skilled Immigration Legislation
WASHINGTON, May 17, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- TechNet, the bipartisan policy and political network of technology CEOs that promotes the growth of the innovation economy, today hailed the U.S. Senate introduction of the SMART (Sustaining Our Most Advanced Researchers and Technology) Jobs Act, offered by Senators Chris Coons (D-Delaware) and Lamar Alexander (R-Tennessee) that would make it easier for America to attract and keep the world's best and brightest innovators working here in the United States.
The SMART Jobs Act creates a new visa category for foreign-born students who are pursuing a masters or doctorate degree in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields at American schools. Once those students graduate and find a job related to their degree, their immigration status would be adjusted to Legal Permanent Resident.
"Today 200 of the Fortune 500 companies were founded by immigrants or children of immigrants. America is in a global battle for the best talent. While many of the world's most promising innovators pursue their graduate studies in the United States, they often face an uncertain, expensive and unpredictable path to pursuing a career here," said Rey Ramsey, President and CEO of TechNet. "Too often, our outdated immigration system has created situations where we train the talent and then force them to leave the country and take jobs with our competitors. The SMART Jobs Act is a strategic, bipartisan measure that offers a creative approach to help us keep high skilled talent within our own borders, delivering more innovation and needed job creation."
Each year, about one-third of the students earning graduate degrees in the U.S. leave because current immigration law makes it too difficult to pursue a career here – creating a STEM "brain drain." While the U.S. delays on modernizing its policies to welcome and retain the most talented in their fields, countries like China and India are recruiting them. "Losing the talent today means losing our competitive edge tomorrow," Ramsey warned. "We must do all we can to keep the students we train contributing to our economy – not our competitors."
Specifically, the SMART Jobs Act would help create a new F-4, or non-immigrant, student visa for foreign students in U.S. colleges and universities to pursue master's or doctorate degrees in the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields. The legislation would also enable those students to acquire green cards so they could stay in the country to find work and possibly start their own firms upon completion of their degrees.
TechNet is the national, bipartisan network of CEOs that promotes the growth of technology industries and the economy by building long-term relationships between technology leaders and policymakers and by advocating a targeted policy agenda. TechNet's members represent more than one million employees in the fields of information technology, biotechnology, e-commerce and finance. TechNet has offices in Washington, D.C., Palo Alto, Sacramento, Seattle, Boston and Austin. Web address: www.technet.org. You can also follow us on Facebook and Twitter at @technetupdate.
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