Bill would increase science, math visas

Jan. 29, 2013 at 1:42 PM
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WASHINGTON, Jan. 29 (UPI) -- A bipartisan group of senators Tuesday proposed a bill to increase visas for immigrants with college degrees in math and science who want to work in America.

The proposal is designed to "modernize" the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, or STEM, visa system. The Hill newspaper reported

The proposed Immigration Innovation Act -- introduced by Sens. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, Marco Rubio, R-Fla., Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., and Chris Coons, D-Del. -- would increase the number of STEM visas and use the fees obtained from those applications to fund STEM education programs in the United States, The Hill said.

STEM applicants would be allowed to stay and work in the United States.

Rubio and Hatch said about 120,000 computer-engineering jobs are created in the United States annually, but only 40,000 college students graduate each year with computer science degrees.

Rubio said companies with those vacant jobs will not wait for more U.S. graduates.

"If I said that the NBA should be comprised of the best basketball players in the country, who would disagree with that?" Rubio asked. "Well, the same should be said for our economy. ... I do not fear that our country will be overrun with PhDs."

Now there is a cap on how many STEM visas can be given out annually, and the group of senators said the cap harms the economy.

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