"The U.S. House is moving closer to acting on
legislation that would make green cards available to as many as 55,000
foreign nationals who have earned advanced degrees in science,
technology, engineering or math -- the so-called STEM fields.
Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas), who, as head of the House Judiciary
Committee, is the lead lawmaker on immigration matters, is preparing to
introduce legislation as early as Friday to create a STEM visa, say sources familiar with the situation.
The STEM Jobs Act of 2012 would eliminate the lottery diversity
program, which now awards 55,000 permanent residency visas to random
lottery winners. This legislative proposal takes those visas and
repurposes them as STEM visas."
There are two obvious problems with this:
1. We shouldn't be distorting labor market signals by weighting the playing field to highly skilled workers.
2. This is a big slap in the face to low skill immigrants. Working off the previous point, if anything, given credit, travel, and information constraints, the weight should be in favor of lower skilled workers.
But if you read the priorities of who would get in under this act it's even worse than past attempts by Congress to put their thumbs on the scales. H1-Bs aren't as highly skilled as they're often made out to be. They're really middle and upper-middle skilled workers. This act seems like it is attempting to really target high skill workers by placing restrictions on what schools (PhD granting and high research) they can come from.