What happens when an international student graduates from a top American university with an advanced degree in science, technology, engineering or math, and receives a job offer from a U.S. company?
Should the prospective employer have to wait, sometimes for years, while the graduate creeps through the immigrant visa bottleneck – and perhaps decides to take his or her skills elsewhere? Or could we streamline the system to allow these immensely valuable products of our higher education system stay here and go right to work?
AIM has joined with dozens of national, state and local employer associations, and employers who hire scientific and technical workers, to urge Congress to pass a bipartisan Science, Technology, Engineering, Math (STEM) visa bill this year. The proposed legislation, one version of which has been crafted by the House Judiciary Committee, would prioritize legal immigration status for those earning STEM degrees from American graduate schools – individuals who are already in the country on student visas, and who are already eligible for immigrant visas, but are currently caught in the visa backlog. (The employer’s obligation to verify that qualified American workers are not available would remain in place.)
This simple change could make a big difference for Massachusetts, where our universities attract the smartest, most ambitious graduate students from around the world, and our industries offer them exciting opportunities to put their skills to work.