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Bill to ease Green Card cap on STEM students

Posted on June 18, 2019
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STEM students

A bill to ease the Green Card cap on STEM students has been introduced by 4 Senators from the Democratic Party in the US. This will exempt overseas students having advanced STEM degrees from US Universities from the nation wise restrictive caps for Green Cards.

The bill titled ‘2019 Keep STEM Talent Act’ aims to eliminate unjust barriers for Maths, Engineering, Technology, and Science educated overseas students. This is if they intend to work in the US upon completion of their degrees.

STEM courses in the US are a huge attraction for students from India. However, there is a nation-wise limit for Green Cards while there has been a heavy influx of Indian Diaspora in the USA. It was thus pointed by CATO that the wait times for Indians with advanced degrees in the US was as long as 151 years! CATO is a US-based think-tank, as quoted by the Economic Times.

The enactment of this bill, if it happens, will be good news for students from India in the US. Nearly 75% or 1.58 lakh out of the 2.09 lakh active Indian students in the US are enrolled in Master’s courses. This is as of 2019 March.

The available data have not dissected the statistics into study categories. However, diverse other research studies and references indicate that the list is topped by STEM courses.

Senator Kamala Harris issued an official statement explaining the outline of the bill. Under this, as STEM graduate will get Green Card/ Lawful Permanent Residence if 2 conditions are fulfilled:

  • The applicant has to get a job offer from an employer in the US in a field pertaining to their degree. The salary for the position must be higher than the Median Wage Level in that specific location.
  • The respective employer in the US must have received an authorized Labour Certification for the offered job

The Labour Certificate mandates the Labour Secretary to certify and determine that no qualified US workers exist for the job. Also, the working conditions and wages of the US workers are not adversely affected by the recruitment of the overseas worker.

1.40 lakh Green Cards based on employment is offered by the US annually. Nevertheless, more than 7% are not offered to any nationality. It has resulted in a big backlog due to the huge influx of Indian Diaspora in the nation.

There were 6.32 lakh Indian immigrants, spouses, and minor kids in the backlog for Green Cards as of 2018 April.

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