Judiciary Committee advances high-skilled immigration bill

The House Judiciary Committee recently approved the Supplying Knowledge Based Immigrants and Lifting Levels of STEM Visa Act, also known as the SKILLS Visa Act.

This bill is sponsored by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) and was agreed to in a vote of 20-14. It provides American employers with access to the world’s best talent by allocating green cards to foreign graduates of U.S. universities with advanced degrees in science, technology, engineering and math, known as STEM fields.

The proposed legislation would also increase H-1B visas and repeal the employment-based per-country cap.

“The committee’s approval of the SKILLS Visa Act furthers an effort to ensure that immigration reform benefits our economy and the creation of American jobs,” Issa said. “America is already home to many of the world’s best and brightest individuals. The SKILLS Visa Act is a win-win for the United States. It allows immigrants who graduate from American universities with advanced degrees in STEM fields to remain here and use their talents to make this country a better place.”

Advocates for the proposed bill include the Consumer Electronics Association, Compete America, inSPIRE STEM USA, the Internet Association and the Information Technology Industry Council.

Specifics of the legislation include allocating up to 55,000 green cards a year for employers to petition for foreign graduates of U.S. universities with advanced degrees in STEM fields. In addition, it would increase and strengthen the H-1B visa cap for high-skilled workers to 155,000 and increase the special pool of visas for foreign graduates of U.S. universities to 40,000.