July 5, 2012
Two recently introduced bills in the United States Senate are designed to slow the “brain drain” of foreign-born scientists and engineers who return to their native countries after receiving graduate training in the US.
Senators Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Chris Coons (D-DE) introduced the Sustaining our Most Advanced Researchers and Technology (SMART) Jobs Act with the hope of retaining more US-trained foreigners. The Act proposes a new kind of visa for STEM students in graduate programs. The visa would remain valid for one year after graduation to allow the student to find employment. Once employed full-time in a STEM field, holders of the visa would become eligible to apply for green cards. These would not count towards the current annual limit of 140,000 employment-based green cards.