Two recent developments in Immigration Law, both aimed at stimulating business and growth in the United States, yet each distinct in their approach, have gained considerable attention. These two initiatives are completely different. One is immigration reform seeking to make fundamental changes to our current processes. And the second is a pragmatic solution providing comprehensive access to the immigration processes we already have. Juxtaposed, they illustrate different means to the same end.
First, the House of Representatives just passed the STEM Jobs Act (H.R. 6429) which would eliminate the diversity lottery green card program and reallocate up to 55,000 greed cards per year to foreign graduates of U.S. universities with advanced degrees. These green cards are first made available to foreign graduates with high-tech doctoral degrees in computer science, engineering, mathematics, and physical sciences. Then the green cards are made available for foreign graduates with high-tech master’s degrees in the same subjects.
Supporters of the bill argue that in a global economy, the United States cannot afford to educate foreign graduates in the U.S. and then send them home to work for competitors. The bill’s proponents argue that with the world’s top students the economy will grow and jobs will be created. As a trade off, however, the bill would eliminate the current diversity lottery green card program, which offers 55,000 visas annually to applicants from countries with low rates of immigration to the U.S. in the prior five years. The bill is receiving a lot of attention; it passed the House of Representatives and is currently before the Senate.
A second initiative, also aimed at growing business in the United States is the USCIS’ launch of Entrepreneur Pathways, a new online resource center for entrepreneurs seeking to start a business in the United States. The new resource center was launched at the Martin Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneur in Cambridge, Mass. and is designed to provide entrepreneurs seeking to start a business in the U.S. an intuitive way to navigate the immigration process.
The Director of the USCIS explained how our immigration system has the full potential to attract and retain startup enterprises that promote innovation and spur job creation in America. Navigating through our immigration process can be complicated. In an effort to develop a pragmatic solution to help bring business leaders here, USCIS and startup business experts worked together to streamlines pathways for a range of existing nonimmigrant visa categories often used by entrepreneurs.