On September 20, 2012, the U.S. House of Representatives rejected the STEM Jobs Act (H.R. 6429), sponsored by Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Tex.) by a vote of 257-158. (288 votes were required to pass under suspension of the rules.) The bill would have provided permanent residence to 55,000 foreign students each year who graduate with advanced degrees in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics from U.S. universities and agree to work for at least five years in the United States in a STEM field. The bill included requirements for an employer to petition on the student’s behalf and a labor certification process.
Democrats who voted against the measure signaled that they were in favor of similar legislation but objected to a provision that would have eliminated the diversity visa program. Congress may take up this and similar bills in November, after the presidential election.