A group of senators led by Majority Whip Dick Durbin, D-Ill., have introduced legislation that would make it easier for international students with advanced STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) degrees to work in the United States upon after their schooling is completed.

The Keep STEM Talent Act of 2022 “aims to grow the economy by retaining talented international graduates who have earned STEM advanced degrees from American universities by exempting these graduates from restrictive green card limitations that significantly delay or prevent their pathway to citizenship.”

“America should always be focused on maintaining a strong STEM workforce because it strengthens our economy and enhances our ability to compete on the world stage,” Sen. Durbin said in a statement. “By denying international students with STEM degrees the opportunity to continue their work in America, we are losing their talents to countries overseas and won’t see the positive impacts of their American education. We believe this bill represents a common-sense idea that the Senate should take seriously.”

Sen. Durbin is joined in the legislation by Sens. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., Ron Wyden, D-Ore., Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., Alex Padilla, D-Calif., Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, and Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio.

Companion legislation was introduced last year in the House by Reps. Bill Foster, D-Ill., and Eddie Bernice Johnson, D-Texas.

“The Keep STEM Talent Act will allow international students to build their careers in America, which will make our economy more competitive and innovative on the international stage,” Sen. Wyden said. “This legislation ensures we no longer waste our national investments and handicap our competitive industries by sending away STEM talent educated here in the United States.”

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Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith is a MeriTalk Senior Technology Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.