In previous posts we have written about efforts being made by some politicians to make it easier for individuals from foreign countries who have come to the United States to attain advanced degrees to remain in the country and hopefully start their own businesses after completing their studies. Earlier this week employment immigration legislation designed to do just that was introduced by Congress. A similar version was introduced in the Senate last month.
The bi-partisan legislation is being referred to as the Startup Act 2.0. The idea behind the proposed bill is to hold onto talent that has been cultivated in U.S. universities. Specifically, individuals who have graduated with a degree in a science, technology, engineering or math field are being sought. This is because it is believed by some that by the year 2018, the U.S. will fall far short of the needed STEM-trained graduates. The projected deficit is approximately 230,000 qualified advanced degree holders.
There are several factors that contribute to the projected need. In addition to the numerous hoops that currently need to be jumped through to attain a U.S. visa, the number of employment visas made available annually is far fewer than the number of interested foreigners, not to mention the need of U.S. companies.
It remains to be seen what will happen with this legislation. In the meantime, any foreign student interested in staying in the country who is close to finishing his or her advanced degree and whose visa is set to expire, should seek assistance from an immigration attorney. Immigration laws are ever-changing and there may be other ways to remain in the country legally.
Source: KPCC, "Explaining the Startup Act 2.0," Leslie Berestein Rojas, June 5, 2012