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Possible STEM Visa Changes

Lawmakers in the US have made a bipartisan proposal to change the nation's immigration laws, including rules governing visas for skilled scientific workers, The New York Times reports. One bill, which was introduced in the Senate earlier this week by Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), would increase the number of temporary and permanent resident visas available for such immigrants. Specifically, the Nature News blog adds, it would increase the number of H-1B visas that can be issued each year by 50,000, and it would change the employment-based visa caps so that people who received a degree from a US institution in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics would not be subject to them.

"This bill is a common sense approach to ensuring that those who have come here to be educated in high-tech fields have the ability to stay here," Hatch says. "It's good for workers, good for businesses trying to grow, and good for our economy."

Another group of senators led by Charles Schumer (D-NY) and John McCain (R-Ariz.) also presented an immigration reform bill, the Times adds, but that one did not include specifics on what changes would be made with regard to highly skilled immigrants.