Members of the U.S. Senate recently introduced three bills aimed at facilitating the “green card” process for science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM) graduates once they are employed in a relevant field. These bills are in line with the administration’s commitment to promote policies aimed at retaining highly-skilled foreign STEM graduates educated at U.S. universities.
- The Securing the Talent America Requires for the 21st Century Act (STAR Act) would provide certain immigration benefits for foreign nationals with STEM advanced (master’s and doctorate) degrees. One of the key proposals includes allocating 55,000 employment-based immigrant visas to eligible STEM advanced degree graduates of qualifying U.S. research institutions who have job offers in related fields, which would entail offsetting the additional visa numbers by eliminating the “Diversity Visa” lottery program.
- The Sustaining our Most Advanced Researchers and Technology Jobs Act (SMART Act) would permit students pursuing a master’s or doctorate degree in a STEM field to enter the United States on a new nonimmigrant (F-4) visa. After graduating, these students will have one year during which they may continue to reside legally in the United States while seeking a job in a STEM field. After securing full-time employment in a STEM field, they will be able to adjust their status to that of Legal Permanent Resident.
- The Startup Act 2.0 would create a new STEM visa to allow foreign students who graduate with a master’s or doctorate degree in a STEM program from a U.S. institution to receive green cards.
These bills are still in the early stages of the legislative process and it remains to be seen whether they will be signed into law. For more information, click here.