Strategic CIO // Team Building & Staffing
News
5/17/2012
11:50 AM
Connect Directly
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Senator Wants 55,000 Green Cards For Tech Grads

Sen. John Cornyn proposes replacing visa lottery with program that allocates more permanent resident visas to foreign STEM students at U.S. universities.

2012 Salary Survey: 12 Career Insights
2012 Salary Survey: 12 Career Insights
(click image for larger view and for slideshow)
A U.S. senator has introduced legislation that would replace a program which reserves up to 55,000 permanent resident visas for foreign nationals through a lottery with one that saves the same number of so-called green cards for students graduating from advanced science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) programs at U.S. universities.

"In the global competition for the world's best and brightest minds in math and science, the United States should take a backseat to no one," said Senator John Cornyn (R-Texas), in statement.

Cornyn's bill, the Securing the Talent America Requires for the 21st Century (STAR) Act, would allocate 55,000 green cards to foreign students enrolled in graduate level STEM programs at U.S. institutions. To offset those visas, the so-called diversity lottery would be eliminated. The latter program is intended to boost immigration from underrepresented countries.

Cornyn said those visas would be better saved for individuals who can bring high-tech skills to the U.S. economy. "I am confident the STAR Act will bolster American competitiveness and provide a stronger foundation for long-term economic growth and job creation," said Cornyn.

[ Why do American employers say they can't fill their high-tech jobs with domestic workers? See Skills Shortage? Quit Whining. ]

As the visa system currently stands, foreign tech grads can generally work in the United States on temporary, H-1B visas. But those visas are good only for a maximum of six years, after which many H-1B workers are forced to return to their native countries because there is no direct path from the H-1B to an employment-based green card.

Tech companies and immigration advocates have long maintained that the United States needs to make it easier for workers with advanced STEM skills to remain in the country, arguing that the supply of domestic tech workers is insufficient to meet current demand. Microsoft recently opened a campus in Vancouver, Canada, about 130 miles north of its Redmond, Wash. headquarters, which it is stocking with overseas workers that were unable to obtain U.S. visas.

"The American economy needs these highly sought after graduates, and we can't afford to let our U.S. immigration system fall behind in the global race for talent by losing these graduates to foreign competitors," said Lynn Shotwell, executive director of the American Council on International Personnel. ACIP supports the STAR Act.

Presumed Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney also supports liberalization of immigration rules for tech specialists. "I'd staple a green card to the diploma of anybody who's got a degree in math, science, a Master's degree, PhD," Romney said during a debate in November.

But critics of Cornyn's bill say it ignores the fact that there are thousands of unemployed, U.S.-born tech pros still looking for work after having been laid off in recent years, whether because of the economic downturn or other reasons, like outsourcing. "If Senator Cornyn wants to secure talent in the U.S. he should be more concerned with the vast number of U.S. tech workers losing their jobs as work is offshored," said Lee Conrad, national coordinator for Alliance@IBM, a group that advocates on behalf of IBM workers.

Cornyn introduced the STAR Act to the Senate Judiciary Committee's subcommittee on Immigration, Refugees, and Border Security. The subcommittee has yet to act on the bill.

Hacktivist and cybercriminal threats concern IT teams most, our first Federal Government Cybersecurity Survey reveals. Here's how they're fighting back. Also in the new, all-digital Top Federal IT Threats issue of InformqtionWeek Government: Why federal efforts to cut IT costs don't go far enough, and how the State Department is enhancing security. (Free registration required.)

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Page 1 / 2   >   >>
josh1983
50%
50%
josh1983,
User Rank: Apprentice
1/31/2013 | 3:06:03 AM
re: Senator Wants 55,000 Green Cards For Tech Grads
I think what Senators should think about is to make Americans more competent and skillful. Also more scholarship should be available for Masters program in STEM fields. If they go with this proposed plan, in next 5 years most of Americans will have no job or job will low wages. Being a migrant from India, I know that most young Indians are now either an engineer or a doctor, and most of them are paid $500/month or less...If this open a door for them, they would use this opportunity and willing to work for $1000/ month....In Ten years, America will be like India, Rich will get richer each day, other will find hard to live.
josh1983
50%
50%
josh1983,
User Rank: Apprentice
1/31/2013 | 2:54:21 AM
re: Senator Wants 55,000 Green Cards For Tech Grads
I am an immigrant from India but I don't think this is a wise decision because India is a higly populated country with almost every Indian an Engineer or a doctor ( education is free), but most of them are paid $500/a month or less, so if they remove the limit every body would think of misusing the law. If this happen, most of Americans like us will find to get a job or rather get a job with very less wages because H1b will be ready to work even for $1000/month....
javagirl
50%
50%
javagirl,
User Rank: Apprentice
6/6/2012 | 4:28:15 PM
re: Senator Wants 55,000 Green Cards For Tech Grads
You are very wrong about foreign nationals getting funded by their nations for higher education. I (my parents) spent about $12000 each semester for 2 years on my Master's tution fee and that does not include living expenses. Not even one person I know from India had any funding for their education in USA as far as I know. I can't speak for other countries as I do not know how it works there. It hurts when people comment with half knowledge.

All my friends, my juniors and even my younger sis is in the same boat. No one gets any funding to study here. Only chance is to get funding from the college you study in based on your merit. When we came on student loan and personal loans of parents back from India (with > 12% interest), when they have to adjust their budgets even until now and when are stuck here just to repay it off and go back home soon to family, its very rude on your part to comment that way. That said, we are considered as out-of-state candidates and pay 3 times more tution fee.(In state in my college was $4000 per semester)

You might ask, why then do you guys come? Well its a college friend group decision at that age, you come here not knowing you'd get stuck with a huge debt repaying it even after 2 years of working. Parents in India are good at going through extreme struggles to support kids when it comes to child's education - Never say No.

Only thing is education is more practical here and work environment is better and comfortable.

P.S. - Never ever commented on any post. But today felt like doing it as these myths hurt sometimes.
rlawson346
50%
50%
rlawson346,
User Rank: Apprentice
5/30/2012 | 2:57:08 PM
re: Senator Wants 55,000 Green Cards For Tech Grads
The lobbyists are releasing press releases in support. It's very clear who this benefits, and it isn't American STEM workers: http://www.marketwatch.com/sto...
rlawson346
50%
50%
rlawson346,
User Rank: Apprentice
5/25/2012 | 3:38:08 PM
re: Senator Wants 55,000 Green Cards For Tech Grads
I'm a tech grad who wants a Senator that represents the American people. That's the only shortage I see.
kandq
50%
50%
kandq,
User Rank: Apprentice
5/23/2012 | 7:24:35 PM
re: Senator Wants 55,000 Green Cards For Tech Grads
Just another Republican attempt to drive middle class wages down. We have loads of out of work IT professionals so we don't need this kind of program. In fact we should be restricting H1B visas and forcing US companies spend money on existing IT staff to keep their skills current.
bdilbert980
50%
50%
bdilbert980,
User Rank: Apprentice
5/19/2012 | 6:13:55 PM
re: Senator Wants 55,000 Green Cards For Tech Grads
Imagine how much better the US economy would be if Congress, the White House, and the media spent 1/4 of the time on creating real jobs for real Americans instead of jockeying for jobs to replace Americans in our own country.

What a crock of paid off politicians - these same elected officials passed egregious H-1b legislation that allows employers to lay off Americans and only hire foreign visa workers - no questions asked. Despicable.

Why are greedy billionaires/corporations whining that they can't find qualified Americans? Simple they don't want to and thanks to $$ influence they don't need to legally.

Go to youtube, type in USINPAC (the only foreign pac on Capital Hill) and you will see interviews with senators and congressmen glowing about the the wonderful work of their benefactor - all of the Indian outsourcing companies.

H-1b fraud and abuse is a bi-partisan disease and elected officials on both sides of the aisle including the Prez and VP are in on the game. Vote them all out. Please
MyW0r1d
50%
50%
MyW0r1d,
User Rank: Strategist
5/19/2012 | 4:56:03 PM
re: Senator Wants 55,000 Green Cards For Tech Grads
Whether it is a lottery or reservation system, they are based on a premise that there are not sufficient US students or citizens with the capability to fill the STEM programs. I am sorry, but I disagree with this flawed premise in both categories. I've stated before that these individuals eligible for subsidized training in US colleges and universities are also getting financial help from their host nations. They are paying almost nothing. Compare that to a US national who has to fight for even partial funding and hear constantly the indebtedness of an undergraduate degree (not to mention graduate or PhD programs).

Clearly, I agree with Mr. Conrad's remarks adding that both Obama or Romney would do well to focus on making these advanced degrees as affordable to US citizens as they are to the free/subsidized foreign students and see how that will affect availability of a qualified national workforce. If the problem is the latter (capability) then perhaps the educational system is flawed in requesting and accepting substandard levels of performance. Certainly, not a week passes without news of students disciplined for "non standard hair color", artfully sculpting their favorite basketball star in their hair, youngsters missing one day too many while working and caring for terminally ill parents even while maintaining grades above par, ... the list can go on and on. I know, weekly exceptions that do not reflect the larger norm of our system. But is the educational system focusing on what's important or locked in on regimented attitudes of mass production? If anywhere needs out-of-the-box thought, isn't it the STEM programs?
twins.fan
50%
50%
twins.fan,
User Rank: Apprentice
5/19/2012 | 12:19:41 AM
re: Senator Wants 55,000 Green Cards For Tech Grads
In 2011, the GAO conducted a study of these foreign workers that are entering this country and found that holders of H1B visas are NOT highly skilled workers. In fact only 6.0% are "Fully Competent". The graph reporting that fact can be viewed at the following location http://techtalk.dice.com/t5/im... That graph appears in the 2011 GAO report on page 58 as Table 5. Please note that over half of the H1B visas were issued to "Entry Level" workers. Later the report reports that the majority of recipients are third world workers, primarily India and Communist China.

These visas are issued to REPLACEMENT workers not highly skilled workers, replacement workers primarily from India.

The author of this bill Senator John Cornyn founded the "Friends of India" Senate Caucus with Hillary Clinton. Currently there are over 35 US Senators who are members of that caucus. While Cornyn, Clinton, ant the other 34 Senators may be Friends of India, it is important to note that India is NOT a friend of the US. India is a friend of Iran. India is a friend of Syria. India was a friend of the Soviet Union until the Soviet Union collapsed.

When the United Nations votes on issues, India is more likely to vote with China and Russia than the United States. When Cornyn, Clinton et al are called "Friends of India", that means they are friends of Indian campaign contributors who are funneling millions of Indian dollars into the pockets of US Senators who are betraying the US and US working people.

Cornyn is a Friend of India and an enemy of US STEM workers and US workers in general.
jleone940
50%
50%
jleone940,
User Rank: Apprentice
5/18/2012 | 3:32:52 PM
re: Senator Wants 55,000 Green Cards For Tech Grads
Our IT companies are insanely profitable right now, yet IT wages/salaries have barely budged.

Yahoo makes 90+k in profit, per employee, yet is still laying off 2000 workers this year.

Senator Cornyn, tell me, if you ran a small business and you could make 90+k profit per employee, wouldn't you be hiring like crazy? It is clear, our current economic stagnation is being caused by the single-minded pursuit of increasing profits.

If you are a CEO, you know you don't get a bonus by keeping profit levels the same, you get them by increasing profits. The Board of Directors at Yahoo looked around and saw that other Tech companies were making even more profit, per employee, than Yahoo (Apple for example at 400+k per employee), and hence the layoff.

Even when ordinary, Main-Street-Common-sense, would tell anyone such a layoff is a sure test for insanity.

Further these same companies have huge off-shore bank accounts, and the only way that money can get back into country is through T-Bills. Hence huge government debt, fed by those T-Bills.

Stop wasting time senator Cornyn with an issue dear to your highest campaign contributors. Get to work on fixing the real problem, you can do it, and most Republicans are for it. Find a way to get the trillions that are out their, in foreign bank accounts back into the U.S.. Find a way to get a tax amnesty for the repatriation of funds for the just-right-and-correct purpose of getting 10+ million americans (who are proven workers, and we don't need to import) back to work.
Page 1 / 2   >   >>
2014 US Salary Survey: 10 Stats
2014 US Salary Survey: 10 Stats
InformationWeek surveyed 11,662 IT pros across 30 industries about their pay, benefits, job satisfaction, outsourcing, and more. Some of the results will surprise you.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
InformationWeek Tech Digest September 24, 2014
Start improving branch office support by tapping public and private cloud resources to boost performance, increase worker productivity, and cut costs.
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
InformationWeek Radio
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.