The US House of Representatives passed a bill Friday that gives permanent-resident status to foreign-born graduates who earn degrees in science, technology, engineering, and math from US institutions, reports the Nature News blog. The blog notes that the House rejected a similar bill about two months ago.
"In a global economy, we cannot afford to educate these foreign graduates in the US and then send them back home to work for our competitors," says Lamar Smith (R-Texas), who sponsored the STEM Jobs Act, in a statement. "This legislation will help us create jobs, increase our competitiveness, and spur our innovation."
The bill, The Chronicle of Higher Education notes, would shutter a diversity visa program that apportions 55,000 visas each year to people from underrepresented, often poor countries.
"There's no question that a STEM green-card program is the right thing to do for our country," said Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) on the House floor, according to the Chronicle, adding that "there's no reason that giving a green card to one person should mean taking one away from someone else."
The Chronicle also says that that the measure is unlikely to be passed by the Senate.