Additional green cards proposed for STEM graduates

The United States currently has a very long backlog of applicants for green cards who are waiting to take the vital step towards gaining citizenship.  According to the Wall Street Journal, however, all applicants have most assuredly not been created equal over the course of the last couple of decades, with some being forced to wait up to as long as 24 years before being granted permanent residency.

A bill introduced on June 20th by Darrell Issa, however, would see the granting of as many as 55,000 new green cards for overseas students who have degrees in STEM subjects – science, technology, engineering and mathematics.  The San Diego Union Tribune says that the proposed legislation would increase the number of US visas that are distributed every year to high-skilled workers from 65,000 to as many as 155,000.

The Supplying Knowledge-Based Immigrants and Lifting Levels of STEM Visas Act, otherwise known as the SKILLS act, would mean that graduates from US universities who were born overseas would be able to stay in the country and help to increase the technology sector.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that the amount of technology and computer information jobs will increase by 22% before 2020 and that there will also be a 17% increase in math-related occupations.  “Although high-skilled immigrants are often in demand by American employers, many of them end up on the green card waiting list for years,” says Bob Goodlatte.  “Consequently, many of these foreign workers and students go back to their home countries and work for one of our global competitors.”