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STEM Jobs Act passes House

November 30, 2012
The House of Representatives today approved H.R. 6429, the STEM Jobs Act of 2012, introduced by Idaho First District Congressman Raúl Labrador in conjunction with House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (TX-21) and Representative Bob Goodlatte (VA-06).

The legislation eliminates the backlog in the visa process so that legal foreign students with advanced degrees from American universities in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields can accelerate their transition into the American workforce when offered jobs from U.S. employers in high-tech fields.

“There is wide bipartisan support for STEM Visa reform.” Labrador said. “Leaders in both parties and businesses across America have recognized the need to retain the best and brightest minds in the world. They already come here to be educated—but when they graduate our system is so inefficient they return home or move to Canada where they compete against us. With the STEM Jobs Act we are replacing a broken, inefficient visa program with one that works, rewards innovation, and means jobs for our economy.”

The STEM Jobs Act eliminates the current diversity visa lottery program, which grants 55,000 visas at random, and makes those visas available to STEM graduates. The overall number of visas allocated will not be increased.

The legislation also makes changes to the “V” nonimmigrant visa program, updating family-focused immigration allowances.

“Reauthorizing the “V” visa program will reunite families and allow husbands, wives and families of workers to wait in the United States while their applications are processed. It doesn’t bring anyone new into the country but allows families to wait together.”

The House approved the STEM Jobs Act of 2012 by a vote of 249-139.
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