By Joe Mathieu, WBZ NewsRadio 1030

BOSTON (CBS) – People come from all over the world to study in this country.

An annual report by the Institute of International Education shows more than 800,000 foreign students enrolled in American colleges and universities last year – up more than 7-percent from the year earlier.

Nearly half of them were from China, India and South Korea.

As a result, international students last year contributed some $24 billion to the U.S. economy.

That’s a big number. And it helps us understand why the local business community is working to keep these people here in Massachusetts after they get their degrees.

They are calling for a different kind of immigration reform. Not to be confused with reforming the way illegal immigrants are handled.

In this case they’re talking about reforming the way foreign skilled workers are handled. It may sound strange but there are hundreds of local jobs in science, tech and engineering that are going unfilled because there aren’t enough trained workers to fill them.

And so the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce is banding together with chambers around the country to push for new rules that will keep foreign talent here.

Some of the changes already passed in the U.S. Senate as part of a comprehensive reform bill. Now supporters are calling on the U.S. House to act.

Which would be news in itself.

Follow Joe on Twitter @joemathieuwbz



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