H-1B visas: Bill seeking exemption for foreign-born PhD students re-introduced in Congress

A bill has been re-introduced in the House of Representatives that seeks exemption for foreign-born persons with an American PhD from the limits on the number of employment-based green cards and H-1B visas awarded

PTI May 27, 2017 11:15:56 IST
H-1B visas: Bill seeking exemption for foreign-born PhD students re-introduced in Congress

Washington: A bill has been re-introduced in the House of Representatives that seeks exemption for foreign-born persons with an American PhD in science, technology, engineering or mathematics from the limits on the number of employment-based green cards and H-1B visas awarded annually.

H1B visas Bill seeking exemption for foreignborn PhD students reintroduced in Congress

Representational image. Reuters

Introduced by Congressmen Erik Paulsen and Mike Quigley, the 'Stopping Trained in America PhDs from Leaving the Economy' (STAPLE) Act, is likely to benefit Indians, given that they constitute the largest number of students doing PhD in the US.

"It is no surprise that the brightest minds from around the world come to the United States to pursue their advanced degrees, and we should be doing all we can to ensure students we educate and train here use what they've learned to contribute to the American economy," said Congressman Erik Paulsen.

"With thousands of high-skilled jobs going unfilled, the STAPLE Act makes sure American companies are getting the talent they need. By stapling a green card or (a) visa to their diplomas, these professionals can invent and innovate new discoveries that grow our economy," Paulsen said.

Quigley, in his remarks, said if the US was serious about fostering innovation, spurring economic activity, and staying competitive in the global marketplace, it must encourage the brightest minds in the world to study, work, and stay in its communities.

"We cannot advance our technology or research if we continue sending foreign-born, but US educated, students with advanced degrees away," he said.

Noting that the H-1B visas are subject to annual caps that are woefully short of the number necessary to fill high-skilled jobs, the two lawmakers in a statement said numerous studies have found that H-1B visas correspond with an increase in jobs for native citizens.

For example, a 2011 American Enterprise Institute study found that "an additional 100 foreign-born workers in STEM (science, technology, engineering, or mathematics) fields with advanced degrees from US universities is associated with an additional 262 jobs among US natives," they said.

Last month, US President Donald Trump signed an executive order for tightening the rules of the H-1B visa programme to
stop "visa abuses". Trump said his administration is going to enforce 'Hire American' rules that are designed to protect jobs and wages of workers in the US.

The executive order also called upon the Departments of Labour, Justice, Homeland Security, and State to take action against fraud and abuse of our visa programmes.

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