Sen. Schumer Tackles the Talent Crunch with the BRAINS Act

Last week, Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) unveiled the “BRAINS Act,” new legislation that would reform the current US visa system and make it easier for New York tech companies to hire foreign students graduating from American universities with advanced STEM degrees–science, technology, engineering, and math. The BRAINS Act proposes a pilot program that would provide 55,000 new green cards annually for foreign students with STEM degrees, and addresses New York and the US’s urgent need for more highly-skilled tech workers.

Currently, there is an extremely limited number of H1B visas for foreign students with advanced STEM degrees, which means that even if a company did want to hire a talented, highly skilled foreign worker, the worker may be forced to return home without a visa and lose the opportunity to contribute skills and talent to an American tech company.

“It makes no sense that America is educating the world’s smartest and most talented students and then, once they are at their full potential and mastered their craft, kicking them out the door,” said Schumer. “We should be encouraging every brilliant and well-educated immigrant to stay here, build a business here, create wealth here, employ people here, and grow our economy. Fixing our broken green card system will help ensure that the next eBay, the next Google, the next Intel will be started in New York City, not in Shanghai or Bangalore or London.”

The BRAINS Act has the potential to impact New York’s growing tech industry, especially in areas like DUMBO. The City’s tech industry is booming but one of its challenges is the lack of skilled engineers and programmers. American universities are producing eligible graduates, but because of the current visa system, the foreign graduates are unable to stay in the US and often take their talent to other countries.

Photo via Opinion Exchange