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NEW BILL CALLING FOR 55,000 MORE STEM VISAS

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By: Lusine Lisyanova*

Today, New York Senator Charles Schumer (D) introduced a new bill before the Senate. This bill calls for an additional 55,000 STEM visas. STEM visas are for foreign-born individuals who have graduated from an American university with at least a master’s degree in a science, mathematics, technology, or engineering filed. Should this bill be passed, it would be a big step towards reforming and improving our nation’s immigration system.

Schumer’s bill is similar to a bill that was introduced in the House by Texas Representative Lamar Smith (R). However, Smith’s bill calls for complete elimination of the Diversity Visa Lottery, while Schumer’s does not. Smith’s reasoning for elimination the DV Lottery is that it is often plagued by fraud and that it makes it easier for terrorists to enter the Untied States.

In an attempt to rally support for his bill, Schumer’s office is meeting with large tech companies in the Washington DC area. For years, tech companies have desired an increase in the number of STEM visas, so it is not surprising that they are highly supportive of this legislation. Reportedly, House Republicans are reaching out to tech companies as well to gather support for Smith’s bill.

While both of these bills are intended to be very beneficial for highly educated immigrants, it is doubtful whether they will prove to be so in reality. As we draw to a close of the 2nd Session of the 112th Congress, it is doubtful that there will be enough time for the Congressmen to vote upon either of these bills. And although we remain hopeful, we cannot help but wonder whether these pieces of legislation are just last minute strategic moves in the wake of the upcoming election.

*Lusine Lisyanova is the Communications Coordinator at BOILA PC.

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