Immigration Blog

House Judiciary Committee Approves High-Skilled Immigration Bill

By Bill at July 03, 2013 15:47
Filed Under: Immigration News
The House Judiciary Committee today approved the Supplying Knowledge Based Immigrants and Lifting Levels of STEM Visas Act (H.R. 2131), also known as the SKILLS Visa Act,in a vote of 20-14. This bill provides American employers with access to the world’s best talent by allocating green cards to foreign graduates of U.S. universities with advanced degrees in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields, increasing H-1B visas, and repealing the employment-based per-country cap.

Key Components of the SKILLS Visa Act:

Increases Green Cards for STEM Grads: The SKILLS Visa Act allocates up to 55,000 green cards a year for employers to petition for foreign graduates of U.S. universities with advanced degrees in STEM fields.

Increases and Strengthens H-1B Visa Program: The SKILLS Visa Act increases the H-1B visa cap for high-skilled workers to 155,000 and increases the special pool of visas for foreign graduates of U.S. universities to 40,000. The bill contains enhanced anti-fraud provisions and allows H-1B spouses to work.

Market-Based Approach to Protect American Workers: The bill improves the prevailing wage calculation to better protect American workers and extends the prevailing wage protection to similar visa programs.

Provides Entrepreneur Visas: The bill allocates up to 10,000 green cards a year for alien entrepreneurs who can attract investment from venture-capital firms to establish businesses that will create at least five jobs or have already created five jobs over 10 years through the E-2 treaty investor program.

Strengthens Investor Visa Program: The bill strengthens the investor visa green card program by making the regional center pilot project permanent, indexing investment requirements for inflation, and adding anti-fraud protections.

Eliminates Arbitrary Caps: The bill eliminates the employment-based green card per-country cap, allowing American employers to have access to the best talent.

Keeps Families Together: The bill allocates an additional 25,000 green cards a year to the spouses and minor children of permanent residents. It also raises the family-sponsored per-country cap.

Makes Immigration System Smarter: The bill repeals the diversity lottery green card program, which is a magnet for fraud and poses a national security threat.