SMART Jobs Act gains support of SPIE

Bellingham, WA -- Leaders of SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics, have announced their support of the proposed new legislation aimed at enabling foreign students educated in graduate programs in the United States to more easily stay and work in the country.

Bellingham, WA -- Leaders of SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics, have announced their support of the proposed new legislation aimed at enabling foreign students educated in graduate programs in the United States to more easily stay and work in the country.

The Sustaining our Most Advanced Researchers and Technology (SMART) Jobs Act of 2012, introduced this week by Senators Lamar Alexander (R-Tennessee) and Chris Coons (D-Delaware), would create a new visa category for students in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) fields.

The new category would enable students who declare their intent to obtain work in a STEM field to remain in the United States to look for employment for up to one year, and for an additional six months once a job has been found and an application for a green card is being processed.

"Many of the top schools in optics and photonics are in the United States, and top students from around the world compete to study here," said SPIE President Eustace Dereniak. "For many graduates, their first choice would be to stay on to work in leading labs in the U.S. However, at this time they are required to leave the country upon graduation, and must conduct their job searches from outside the U.S. before they may apply for the limited number of work visas that are made available each year."

This flow out of the country of well-trained engineers and researchers who have been trained in the United States hampers the generation of not only innovations but the high-value jobs that come with them as well, Coons said in a statement about the bill. He noted that in the past 15 years, immigrants founded a quarter of U.S. venture-backed public companies. He cited Intel, eBay, Yahoo!, and Google as among those founded at least in part by immigrants, saying that together they account for more than 150,000 jobs.

-----

Follow us on Twitter and 'like' us on Facebook

Follow OptoIQ on your iPhone; download the free app here.

More in Home