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News Release

IEEE-USA Report Shows STEM Visas Can Promote Diversity & Have Positive Effect on U.S. Job Creation

WASHINGTON (27 November 2012) — Replacing the diversity visa lottery with a program requiring higher technical education will continue to promote diverse immigration, while providing our nation with the benefit of U.S.-educated high-skill workers, according to a report by IEEE-USA.

“The data indicates that swapping the visa lottery for STEM green cards will not diminish the diversity of America’s immigration sources. By prioritizing skills, it will create and keep jobs in the United States,” says the report, “Promoting Diversity through the STEM Visa.”

Diversity from Latin America will benefit by allowing diversity visas to be transferred into the employment-based STEM visa program. For example, people from Argentina, Brazil and Columbia won just 73 diversity visas in Fiscal Year 2011. Contrast this with the number of their students studying at U.S. universities in the STEM fields – science, technology, engineering and mathematics: 290 in Argentina, 1,336 in Brazil and 1,609 in Columbia.

The report also shows that, in Africa, moving from a lottery to a skills-based visa program would still promote substantial diversity. Of the 48 nations in sub-Saharan Africa, 29 have more advanced-degree students in the United States than lottery winners. And self-sustaining family based immigration from Africa would continue.

The STEM Jobs Act (H.R. 6429) is expected to come up for vote in the House of Representatives this week. It would reallocate about 50,000 diversity lottery visas -- requiring just a high school diploma, its equivalent or two years’ work experience -- to foreign nationals earning advanced STEM degrees from U.S. universities.

“Passing this bill into law will greatly benefit the United States because STEM graduates will be able to innovate and create companies here that have the potential to employ thousands of Americans,” IEEE-USA Vice President for Government Relations Keith Grzelak said.

The IEEE-USA report is available at http://www.ieeeusa.org/policy/whitepapers/IEEEUSAWP-DiversityVisa2012.pdf.

IEEE-USA advances the public good and promotes the careers and public policy interests of 210,000 engineering, computing and technology professionals who are U.S. members of IEEE.

Contact: Chris McManes
IEEE-USA Public Relations Manager
Phone: 202 530 8356
Email: c.mcmanes@ieee.org


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