Bill Proposing Additional 55,000 Visas Annually For STEM Graduates Introduced

On May 15, 2012, Republican Senator John Cornyn introduced a bill “Securing the Talent America Requires for the 21st Century” or “STAR Act”, that proposes amendments to the Immigration and Nationality Act to provide certain immigration benefits for aliens with advanced degrees in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM). Some of the key proposals introduced by the Bill include:

  • Allocating 55,000 immigrant visas for eligible STEM graduates (Master’s and Ph.D.) of qualifying U.S. research institutions who have job offers in related fields;
  • Allowing “dual-intent” for those admitted to pursue a STEM degree;
  • Immigration visas under the EB-2 category will be made available first to aliens who graduate from a US research institution with a doctorate or master’s degree in a STEM field and who intend to work in a related field;
  • Job described in an immigrant petition under EB-1 or EB-2 category, that is filed on behalf of an alien who holds a doctorate degree from a US research institution in a STEM field, shall be deemed as a Schedule A shortage occupation, meaning the petitioner may skip the PERM stage of the immigrant visa process and apply directly with the USCIS;
  • Eliminating the “Diversity Visa” lottery program;

The Bill, which has been welcomed by various educational institutions and employer groups, is still in early stages and has to travel a long way before it can become a law. We, at VisaPro, will keep tracking the developments related to the passage of the Bill and keep our readers updated.

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