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GOP advances bill to help China, India tech grads

Patrick Thibodeau | Oct. 31, 2011
A key House committee this week approved a Republican-sponsored high-skill immigration bill intended to help advanced degree holders in India and China get green cards to work in the U.S.

There are two bills , one from U.S. Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), and another, narrower, but similar bill from U.S. Rep. Raul Labrador (R-Idaho), that would grant green cards to U.S. STEM grads with job offers.

Proponents of that approach characterize it as a job-creation strategy, because it helps retains U.S.-trained foreign workers. Opponents warn that green cards in exchange for jobs could have unintended consequences and lead to diploma mills.

Backers estimate that green cards for STEM grads will lead to about 50,000 new green cards a year, about half for the STEM graduate and the remainder for family members. Opponents say that estimate may under count the actual impact.

On the elimination of the per-country cap, John Miano, the founder of the Programmers Guild, said the cap, established in 1965, set up a diversity system "to make immigration look like the world." By eliminating the cap, "we have an act that sets up a system to make immigration look like India and China."


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