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The House of Representatives will be meeting to discuss high-skilled immigration reform and a series of new bills that are supposed to increase the supply of STEM visas and increase U.S. global competitiveness by drawing the world’s best and brightest to U.S. companies.
Three bills are backed with support from Congress: Startup Act 3.0, the StartUp Visa Act of 2013, and the Immigration Innovation Act of 2013. Each of these bills offers different strategies for supplying skilled workers by strengthening the K-12 STEM education, university education, and attracting highly-skilled foreign workers.
Months earlier, large STEM companies were asking Congress to consider giving visas to highly skilled immigrants to help spur job creation and economic growth. The new acts are seeking entrepreneurial talent, encourage pro-growth policies, and attract capital investments in startups. If these measures are enacted, the immigrant entrepreneurs are expected to generate between 500,000 to 1.6 million jobs over the next ten years thereby increasing the economic gain by $70 to $224 billion. In order for entrepreneurs to apply, the applicant must have appropriate financial backing and implement commercial activities that will generate employment, revenue, or capital investment.
Policy makers are also working on passing the Immigration Innovation Act of 2013, also known as the I-Squared Act. This bill would “amend the Immigration and Nationality Act to authorize additional visas for well-educated aliens to live and work in the United States, and for other purposes.” This bill addresses the H-B high-skilled visas by increasing the annual cap by 50,000 in the beginning and then establishing a market-based escalator for the cap to adjust depending on economic demands. Another benefit for employees is it protects those who either quit their job or want to look for alternate employment by giving a 60 day extension for their visa.
Bipartisanship regarding high-skilled immigration and immigrant entrepreneurship is growing. Statistics verify the important contributions of highly skilled immigrants on the economy and – as these pieces of legislation suggest - Congress recognizes the vital role immigrants play in the U.S.
Researchers confirm the importance of immigrants in the U.S. saying they “ remain a critical asset for maintaining U.S. competitiveness in the global economy.” In order to move forward with the intended legislation, policy makers should be careful to create new visa categories rather than simply shift around visa numbers. Positive results are expected thanks to these new bills nationwide as companies will be able to draw the world’s best and brightest to their companies strengthening the U.S.’s global competitiveness.
If you have questions regarding applying for a visa or the changing immigration laws, contact us at 314-961-8200 or visit our contact page.