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Dec 3, 2012

Advantages and Pitfalls of U.S STEM Immigration Reform Act

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Last Friday the House of Representatives at US Congress had shown a green signal to the most conspicuous STEM act with a partisan vote of 245 to 139. Among the 245, 218 are republican while 27 Democrats supported the bill. While 134 democrats voted against the bill with five more republicans support. As per STEM act, foreign students who have achieved highest degrees from USA universities in Science, Engineering, Technology and Math majors will be given Permanent Visa or Green cards to be permanent residents of USA. Well, when you hear it sounds actually good, but there are some pitfalls of this act. Let’s have a look:

  • Economic growth and job creation
  • American employers can hire talented foreign students who are previously turned down due to Visa issues and joined to other global competitors
  • Such green card holders will have the right to start companies and create more jobs
  • This green card can help the resident to bring their spouse or children permanently into U.S after they make 1 year in the green card wait-list
  • America will be the major hub for science and technology in future
  • To avail green cards for STEM graduates, STEM act will eliminate the diversity visa program or “green card lottery”, now available in US immigration law. As per the diversity program, each year USA government gives permanent visas or green cards through a lottery to 55,000 immigrants. Now with STEM act, these 55,000 DE-allocated green cards will be reallocated to STEM graduates.
  • STEM act excludes majors like Arts, Literature, Journalism, Business and Management which are now most of demanding subjects around the world.
  • India, Pakistan, China and several other countries don’t come up under the diversity program. So we really doubt whether these green cards will be available for students from these countries. 
  • Apart from the above, more than 50% of African immigrants to USA will be affected by STEM.
Criteria for PhD or Masters Degrees Qualifications
  • STEM graduates who have received a doctorate or a two years masters degrees from an eligible U.S. university in computer science, engineering, mathematics, or the physical sciences (other than biological sciences) are eligible for STEM green cards. Masters degree students will also have to have a college major with a STEM field.
  • Students who have completed their complete coursework (internet courses) in USA with a physical presence are eligible.
  • You’ll be eligible if you’re petitioned by an employer who has gone through labor certification and willing to hire you in case of insufficiency of American candidates
Know more about STEM act at U.S House of Representatives Site here.

What’s there for Indian Students in STEM act?

Well, the law is same for everyone and talented students who achieve masters or doctoral in one of the STEM fields are surely eligible for Green Cards. About the diversity program, India is not eligible to be a part of the program due to high immigration rates and also several other Asian countries are on the same side.


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