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Immigration Bill would help Foreigners with advanced degrees from Indiana schools stay in U.S.

WASHINGTON — Purdue graduate student Seung Hyun Song is working on new ways to treat tumors that aren’t responsive to radiation.

PG in USASong would prefer to stay in the United States after finishing his Ph.D. in electrical engineering to continue his research with a medical device company or in academia. But navigating immigration rules make it most likely that he will return to South Korea.

“I might have leaned on staying more strongly if there were some certainty of a green card and would still love to stay,” Song said.

Nearly half of the graduate students studying in science, engineering, technology or math (STEM) fields at Indiana’s research-intensive universities are foreign born, with no clear path to staying in the United States after they graduate, according to Partnership for a New American Economy, one of the many coalitions pushing Congress to rewrite immigration rules.

The sweeping immigration bill passed by the Senate in June and facing an uncertain future in the House would make it easier for foreign students in the STEM fields to both get to, and stay in, the United States after graduation.

“Universities have a big stake in this bill, a bigger stake than they realize,” said Victor C. Johnson, senior adviser for public policy at the NAFSA: Association of International Educators. “One of which is to ease the provisions on the movement of talented people into this country.”

Proponents say it doesn’t make sense to train the world’s best and brightest students and then send them away so they can compete against the United States.

And companies such as Indianapolis-based Eli Lilly and Co. that employ high-skilled workers say the backlog of green cards for international recruits is a real problem.

“We must fix the policies that are driving away talented people who want to work here and contribute to our economy,” said Lilly spokesman Greg Kueterman. “This doesn't require drastic change, just a sensible increase in visas for these highly skilled people and a shorter, simpler process to get a green card. This will strengthen the ability of American companies to innovate.”

Source: http://www.pal-item.com/article/20130809/NEWS01/308090011/Immigration-bill-would-help-foreigners-with-advanced-degrees-from-Indiana-schools-stay-in-U-S-?gcheck=1

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