Independent U.S. Senator from Maine Angus King announced Wednesday that he is cosponsoring legislation that would remove the green card cap for immigrants who have graduated with certain advanced science and technology degrees from U.S. educational institutions.
The “Keep STEM Talent Act of 2023” would grant immigrant Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) degree-holders who have American job offers with lawful permanent resident (LPR) status in the U.S.
Granting noncitizen STEM graduates at the master’s level or higher with LPR status would exempt them from current numerical limitations on employment-based green green cards.
“I agree with those who say when a bright young mind walks across a stage and graduates from America’s universities with a science-related degree, they should have a green card stapled to their diploma to immediately contribute to America’s tech sector, Sen. King said Wednesday.
King said the legislation would help “support U.S. research in those key science and technology industries.”
“We must continue working together to help advanced degree holders, like those from the University of Maine system, obtain resident status, while supporting emerging tech industries that are eager for top talent,” King said.
The bill would also allow dual intent, meaning the noncitizen STEM degree students would not lose their student visa status if they are sponsored by an employer for a green card.
Additionally, the “Keep STEM Talent Act” would require “rigorous vetting” of noncitizen advanced STEM degree students prior to being approved for a student visa, in order to “address any national security or counterintelligence concerns.”
If passed, the bill would also require that employers sponsoring foreign STEM graduates pay their hired workers at higher than the median wage level for the occupational classification in the given area of employment.
The bipartisan legislation is cosponsored by Sens. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Mike Rounds (R-S.D.).