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Impact - September 2012

Senator Schumer Cites CUF’s Tech Report in Addressing Visa Problems

Our May 2012 New Tech City identified the lack of engineers and programmers as the single biggest threat to the future growth of New York City’s tech sector and called on policymakers to reform immigration laws that currently prohibit tech companies from hiring talented tech workers from abroad. Last week, Senator Charles E. Schumer introduced legislation that would do just this, citing the Center’s report as proof of the need for his proposed visa reforms.

Tags: economic growth tech immigrants

Our May 2012 New Tech City identified the lack of engineers and programmers as the single biggest threat to the future growth of New York City’s tech sector and called on policymakers to reform immigration laws that currently prohibit tech companies from hiring talented tech workers from abroad. While the report praised city plans to develop new engineering campuses in the five boroughs, it concluded that those efforts would not significantly impact the pipeline of tech talent for several years and argued that “the most immediate and effective remedy for the city’s engineering talent gap would be to streamline the visa process and dramatically raise the federal cap on highly qualified immigrants.” We urged policymakers to not only push for broad immigration reform “but also interim measures, such as freeing up more green cards for students from abroad who receive their technical degree at a universities in the U.S.”

Last week, Senator Charles E. Schumer introduced legislation that would do just this, citing the Center’s report as proof of the need for his proposed visa reforms. Senator Schumer’s  BRAINS Act would create a pilot program through which 55,000 additional green cards would be available to foreign students with advanced degrees in science, technology, engineering or mathematics while streamlining the student visa application and renewal process. The Center’s executive director, Jonathan Bowles, applauded the legislation at the Senator’s press conference, saying: “It will be years before our higher education system produces the pipeline of science and tech workers that’s sufficient to meet the demand. Until then, the only answer is to make it easier for the top engineers, programmers and scientist from overseas to come and stay here. Senator Schumer’s bill will make that possible.”