May 29, 2012
Austin’s high-tech business community has lined up behind a bill, introduced this month by Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, that would make it easier for foreign graduates of some top American science and technology schools to remain in the country long term.
Cornyn’s proposal, called Securing the Talent America Requires for the 21st Century, or the STAR Act, would open up 55,000 immigrant visas a year for students who earn master’s or doctoral degrees in science, technology, engineering or math programs — known collectively as STEM programs — at qualifying U.S. research institutions.
The STEM graduates would qualify for the visas only if they have a job offer in a related field and if the offer would not displace an equally qualified American applicant, according to the bill. For those who do qualify for the STAR visas, however, the bill would open up a streamlined path to permanent residency.