Did Congress miss the moment on serious plans for U.S. workers?

  @FortuneMagazine June 13, 2013: 7:11 AM ET
EAS01 lab worker

Last fall, when Microsoft started leading the tech sector's bid to increase the number of foreign engineers and scientists it could hire, the company proposed that the industry pay a steep price: Companies would give the government $10,000 per H-1B visa, provided the money be used to fund nationwide efforts to build science and math capacity in U.S. schools.

But when an immigration bill arrived on the Senate floor, the tech industry got the foreign workers it wanted -- for a song. A new $1,000 fee, which would apply to green cards for international graduate students but not H-1B visas, would be dedicated to a STEM fund (for science, technology, engineering, and math) for schools, including some colleges.

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