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Lawmaker seeks to introduce immigration bill for STEM fields

Lawmakers seem particularly fond of attaching catchy acronyms to proposed measures in Congress. One freshman Congressman recently used some levity to announce his efforts to propose a measure in the U.S. House as early as the end of January. The Arkansas Representative was speaking at a gathering called together to discuss the emerging trend of "reverse brain drain" from the U.S. and the measure he hopes to introduce has caught the eye of business and employment immigration attorneys across the nation, including Florida immigration lawyers.

The congressman first called the measure the "NERDS" Act. He said he originally thought of calling the measure, "New Employees for Research and Development in STEM." Of course, STEM is the catchy acronym for the science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields. When the chuckles in the audience drained, he announced the revised acronym for the measure, the BRAIN Act --Bringing and Retaining Accomplished Innovators for our Nation. It is the substance of the idea, however, that is catching the eyes of immigration attorneys.

The freshman lawmaker says the BRAIN Act would allow certain students at U.S. universities to have a new pathway toward permanent residency in the United States. The measure reportedly would be aimed at foreign nationals who earn a master's degree or PhD while studying on a student visa. The Brain Act would provide those students a pathway to a green card if they secure a job in the STEM fields after earning their degree.

The freshman lawmaker appeared with a host of panelists at the gathering. One of the panelists is a professor of economics at Agnes Scott College. The professor discussed her study, "Immigration and American Jobs." She says the study shows that between 2000 and 2007, for every 100 foreign nationals with advanced degrees working in the U.S. in the STEM fields, 262 jobs were created for U.S. citizens. The study also showed that the highly skilled immigrant workers on average generated $22,000 in tax revenue, while receiving only an average of $2,300 in government benefits.

The freshman lawmaker says he hopes the proposed BRAIN Act will be ready by the end of January. "We need more STEM grads and we need to quit equipping our competitors, he says.

Source: Washington Post, "Report: Highly-skilled immigrants drive job creation for U.S. citizens," Emi Kolawole, Dec. 15, 2011

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