Congress Considering Bill Bringing Changes for High-Skilled Immigrants

The Senate and House both passed competition bills intended to advance scientific and manufacturing research in America to compete more effectively with China and other countries with powerful economies. Lawmakers are considering making changes to immigration rules for immigrants with advanced STEM skills as a part of this plan. Some senators are hoping that the bill may lead to changes in the immigration system that they have been waiting for.

The Senate and House need to resolve some differences in their versions of the bill, but both versions include funding for research intended to help America better compete with other countries.

There are several changes to the immigration system this bill could make if passed. One change would be a new category of visas for entrepreneurs. Another change the bill would make would be to make foreign citizens that have doctoral degrees in engineering, science, math, and technology fields, exempt from annual green card limits entirely.

These green card limits have forced some foreign nationals who have graduated from American universities to leave the country because they were unable to acquire one in time to remain. It has also caused some professionals from countries such as China or India to wait for over a decade to obtain a green card and begin work in the U.S.

There is a lot of support for the bill in both the Senate and House; however, there are a number of differences between the two versions which need to be worked out. The House version contains a number of provisions not included in the Senate version, such as the changes that would apply to Stem graduates with doctoral degrees and to entrepreneurs. The House version of the bill would also provide deportation protection for Hong Kong residents who fear they might be persecuted by Chinese authorities if they return to Hong Kong.

Some senators fear that the bill may fail if there is an attempt to add too much to the bill. Immigration bills have often had difficulty gaining sufficient support in the past. Learn More

Some senators are hopeful that the bill will pass and are willing to consider the immigration provisions that are a part of the bill passed by the house. But, there is still a lot of work to do before the two versions of the bill are reconciled, so it is difficult to say whether or not the bill will pass.

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