The Infosys probe stems from a lawsuit filed by an employee who claimed harassment after refusing to help a company acquire visas. This issue is a true wild card.
Who supports STEM green cards for advance degree graduates?
The support is bipartisan. Just this week, U.S. Senators Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) and Mark Warner (D-Va.), along with Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Chris Coons (D-Del.) introduced Startup Act 2.0 (a revised bill of something introduced last year.), that would create make green cards available for advance degree stem grads.
Earlier this month, Coons had co-sponsored a green card STEM bill with Sens. Lamar Alexandar (R-Tenn.). Also introducing a green card bill this month was John Cornyn (R-Texas).
In the U.S. House there have been a number of green card STEM bills, but they are less bipartisan about it.
U.S. Rep Zoe Lofgren introduced a Democrat-only Green card bill. U.S. Rep. Raul Labrador (R-Idaho) copied portions of it and then introduced a Republican version of Lofgren's bill. Lofgren has called the political environment " toxic."
What do the green card bills do?
They allow STEM graduates to avoid the H-1B visa and apply for permanent residency.
Do these bills increase the overall number of green cards?
The U.S. makes available 140,000 employment-based visas a year.
Lawmakers are considering methods for ensuring that green cards go directly to STEM grads without raising the overall visa count. One approach is to eliminate the "diversity lottery." The U.S. makes 55,000 green cards available to people who win this lottery.
There are lawmakers who oppose any increase in legal immigration, so this swap proposal is designed to win their support. Another method is to create an entirely new visa dedicated to STEM grads, which may increase employment based visas overall.
Who will be eligible for STEM green cards?
Technically, it is anyone who earns an advance degree in science, technology, engineering and math from a U.S. university.
But what exactly is a STEM degree?
If a student receives an undergrad degree in engineering and then earns an MBA, should that person be eligible for a green card under a STEM program? What defines a STEM degree has yet to be determined.
All the bills, however, require that a visa candidate first get a job in a STEM field before being eligible for a green card.
What is a STEM field?
Will an application and support job at an IT services firm qualify as a STEM job and automatically eligible for permanent residency? Congress has yet to define how this program will work.
What schools are eligible?
Determining what type of school is eligible may become one of the most controversial aspects of any STEM green card bill. Some lawmakers want to limit a STEM green card to students who graduate from Ph.D.-granting institutions that also receive research funding from the National Science Foundation.
Others bills have no restrictions on what colleges are eligible. Critics warn of for-profit colleges creating diploma mills for green card students. If that scenario unfolds, U.S. workers, particularly entry level graduates, may face increase competition for jobs. Older workers, already concerned about age discrimination in IT, will also raise concerns.