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For the Green

The US Congress is taking up the issue of visas for foreign graduates of US universities who studied science and technology.

Republicans in the US House of Representatives have put forth a bill for vote this week that would increase the number of permanent visas available to foreign graduates of US universities who received advanced degrees in the sciences, reports The New York Times. The bill, the paper adds, would allot 55,000 visas to such graduates while eliminating the lottery that randomly awards green cards — 55,000 of them — to applicants from nations that don't have a large immigrant presence in the US. This bill, sponsored by Lamar Smith (R-Texas), would only apply to graduates of universities "conducting 'high' levels of research," ScienceInsider adds.

Meanwhile, House Democrats introduced a version of the bill that keeps the lottery intact, thus adding to the total number of visas awarded, the Times reports. A similar bill was also introduced into the Senate by Democrats there.

"We support the concept behind bills designed to provide green cards to advanced STEM degree graduates, but we have not endorsed a particular bill," says Barry Toiv the Association of American Universities, at ScienceInsider.

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