Representative Darrell Issa of California and 22 other members of the Republican Party introduced the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) Jobs Act, also known as Hr 2131 bill, an update to the current Visa Act.
This bill focuses on immigration reforms that will prioritize a new category for foreign workers with master’s degrees in a STEM field. The intent behind this immigration proposal is that an increase in the number of highly skilled foreign workers will offset the total number of immigrants.
The STEM Jobs Act introduces several strong points of reform to immigration. The proposal includes:
- To increase H-1B cap to 155,000 per fiscal year.
- Increase Current Master’s degree from 20,000 to 40,000 per year.
- Increase Employment-based immigrant cap numbers to 235,000 people.
- Green Cards for STEM Graduates – Proposal to create a new EB-7 visa category that uses unused EB-1A priority worker visa numbers and eliminated diversity visa numbers to redistribute visas to foreign workers with masters’ degrees in STEM fields. The degree must come from a U.S. doctoral institution of higher education (i.e. colleges, universities, etc.) with all courses completed in the STEM field.
- The elimination of the per-country limitations on employment-based immigrants.
- The increase of the per-country limitations on family-based immigrants.
- The elimination of 55,000 diversity visas. These visas will be re-assigned to highly-skilled foreign workers with medical, dentistry, veterinary, or osteopathy degrees.
- The extension of dual intent for foreign students who are pursuing STEM field degrees at institutions of higher education in the United States. Also, the extension will apply to those employed in temporary post-graduation positions.
- The creation of a second new visa category of EB 8-1 and EB 8-2: EB8-1 for qualifying entrepreneurs and a third visa category for EB-8-2 for E-1 treaty trader status for 10 years or longer. Qualified entrepreneurs and their families will have permanent resident status.
Since this billl includes elimination of diversity visa, The Congress and the Obama Administration are expected to oppose the proposal greatly. With high stakes and heavy controversy, HR 2131 is sure to incur more discussion in the coming year. For more information on the immigration bill proposal, you can visit the official website.