The America Competes Act, 2022 was recently passed in the US House of Representatives. This is aimed at boosting manufacturing in the country and strengthening supply chains to outcompete China.
One of the provisions that they hope will take the country in this direction is the removal of Green Card caps for Stem doctorates. The Act also proposes a new visa for entrepreneurs.
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America Competes Act And Removal Of Green Card Cap For STEM Doctors
The America Competes Act removes all caps on Green Cards that may be issued to foreign citizens with STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) doctorates.
The Doctorates must have been earned from an American education institute of higher learning or a foreign university or equivalent standing. The amendment also covers the individual’s spouse and children.
The proposed reform will also take a step forward to authorizing employment for the applicant’s spouse.
A special visa pathway may also be created for a limited number of engineers and scientists who are categorized as contributors to the “National security Innovation Base”.
Green Card Cap For STEM Doctors – Current Status
While many foreign students come to the USA every year for higher education in STEM fields, not all of them can stay in the country. Current immigration laws permit students to pursue education but there is a limit to the number of Green Cards issued and anyone not getting a Green Card must return to their home country.
Currently, only 140,000 Green Cards are issued each year. This is inclusive of Green Cards issued to STEM doctorate holders. Once the new Act is passed, the number may rise as the Green Cards issued to STEM doctorate holders will not be included in the overall number of Green Cards issued.
New Visa To Be Introduced For Entrepreneurs
With the passing of the House version of the ‘America Competes Act, 2022’ by the US House of Representatives, America comes one step closer to introducing a start-up visa. The country hopes that this change will push the country’s economy and innovation engine ahead of the rest of the world.
Currently, the country does not have a start-up or entrepreneur visa but eligible foreign entrepreneurs can live and work in the USA for two and a half years under the international entrepreneur rule.
The New Proposed “W” Visa Class
Part of the act is a proposal for a new class of non-immigrant visas known as the W-1 and W-2 visas. This would be an amendment to the Immigration and Nationality Act.
Once passed, the bill will give the Secretary of Homeland Security the discretion to classify individuals as W-1 nonimmigrants for an initial period of 3 years. The W class visas can go on to make the individual eligible for a Green Card as long as certain other criteria in terms of funding, job creation, and turnover are met.
Types Of W Visas
The W-1 visa is intended for non-immigrant entrepreneurs with an ownership interest in American start-up entities as well as their spouses and children.
People who are considered essential to the growth of the start-up connected with the founder’s W-1 status are eligible for W-2 visas.
The start-up must have been founded within the preceding 5 years from the date of filing for the visa. The individual must own at least 10% of the start-up and play an active role in the operations and management.
In the 18 months prior to filing for a visa, the start-up must have received at least $250,000 from one or more qualified investors or $100,000 in government grants and awards.
America Competes Act – The Intended Effect
This change is aimed at building a young, qualified workforce to help the country maintain a competitive edge. The STEM doctorate holders will be able to push industries towards innovative progress and also help create new jobs.
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