Today, the House of Representatives passed a bill that would make US STEM graduates with advanced degrees immediately eligible for green cards. The bill provides for 55,000 visas for STEM degree holders annually and would allow them to bypass the traditional PERM process. The 55,000 visas would be transferred from the diversity visa program which would no longer exist after this bill becomes law. With this bill, the employer would only have to submit a job order to the state workforce agency and for that agency to post the position for 30 days. The foreign national would have to work for 5 years for the petitioning employer in the US in a STEM field before getting their permanent residency.
In order to qualify, one must have either:
- Doctorate degree in a field of science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM degree) from a U.S. university and have taken all doctoral courses in a STEM field, including all correspondence courses, while physically present in the United States
- Master’s degree in a field of science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM degree) from a U.S. university, have taken all master’s degree courses in a STEM field, including all correspondence courses, while physically present in the United States and hold a baccalaureate degree in a STEM field or in the biological and biomedical sciences.
While this sounds great and a sure thing, the democrats are not behind it as they are against the idea of getting rid of the diversity visa program. Further, the White House does not want to fracture the immigration problem by passing bit and pieces in separate bills because they feel this will hurt the prospects of comprehensive immigration reform. Since the democrats control the Senate, the likelihood of this passing is very low and it will likely be brought up when CIR is introduced next year.