MHTA – The U.S. House of Representatives has approved the STEM Jobs Act (H.R. 6429) by a vote of 245-139. This bill eliminates the diversity visa program and reallocates up to 55,000 new green cards to the most highly qualified foreign graduates of American universities with advanced degrees in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields.
The bill also contains a provision to put families first, allowing the spouses and minor children of legal permanent residents to come to the U.S. after waiting one year for their green cards.
“Many of the world’s top students come to the U.S. to obtain advanced degrees in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) subjects,” said House Judiciary Chairman Rep. Lamar Smith. “We could boost economic growth and spur job creation by allowing American employers to more easily hire some of the most qualified foreign graduates of U.S. universities. These students have the ability to start a company that creates jobs or come up with an invention that could jump-start a whole new industry.”
The bill is more controversial in the U.S. Senate. The White House also announced its opposition to the measure last week in a statement. “This legislation, if enacted, would allocate immigrant visas for advanced graduates of a limited set of STEM degree programs, would offer a limited number of visas for families through the “V” nonimmigrant visa program, and would eliminate the long-standing Diversity Visa program that makes immigrant visas available to certain individuals from countries with low rates of immigration to the United States.”
It is not clear when the Senate might consider the legislation.