IEEE-USA commends Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas) for introducing a legal immigration reform bill, in late September, designed to promote innovation and job creation in high-tech manufacturing and services industries.
The STEM Jobs Act would provide up to 55,000 permanent employment-based (EB) visas each year to international students earning advanced degrees in science, technology, engineering and math from America's top research universities. It also includes labor certification requirements for employers intended to safeguard job opportunities, wages and working conditions for U.S. and foreign workers.
"Enabling these graduates to become fully participating citizens will have a significant impact on our economy and create jobs," said Keith Grzelak, IEEE-USA vice president for government relations. "America is ready to put their skills, education and ideas to work here rather than for an overseas competitor, so that Americans can benefit in the form of future jobs and economic activity here at home."
IEEE-USA has long advocated for an increase in the number of EB visas available to skilled foreign STEM workers, and a streamlining of the immigrant admissions process to make these visas the preferred path to citizenship. http://www.ieeeusa.org/policy/positions/Immigration1110.pdf.
The STEM Jobs Act accomplishes both objectives by eliminating the outdated diversity lottery program and freeing up its 55,000 green cards for use by STEM professionals.
"We could boost economic growth and spur job creation by allowing American employers to more easily hire some of the most qualified foreign graduates of U.S. universities," said Smith, chair of the House Judiciary Committee, in a statement. "These students have the ability to start a company that creates jobs, or come up with an invention that could jump-start a whole new industry."
Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas) is the only original Democratic cosponsor of the bill.
"The STEM Jobs Act ensures that America can retain those we educate and enables us to compete on a global scale with those in STEM-related industries to create more opportunity and innovation for our nation's future," Cuellar said.
For Smith's news release announcing the legislation, see http://lamarsmith.house.gov/news/documentsingle.aspx?DocumentID=308860
For the entire bill, go to http://judiciary.house.gov/issues/STEM/STEM%20Jobs%20Act.pdf
IEEE-USA advances the public good and promotes the careers and public policy interests of 210,000 engineering, computing and technology professionals who are U.S. members of IEEE.
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Chris McManes is IEEE-USA’s public relations manager.