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Congress rejects bill to allocate visas to high-value graduates

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On Thursday, Democratic opposition led to the defeat of a Republican-backed bill that would have granted up to 55,000 green cards a year to masters and doctoral graduates with degrees in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, known as STEM fields. The bill would have mandated that students seeking a green card would have to receive a doctorate or masters degree from a reputable American university in STEM fields and agree to work for at least five years for the employer petitioning on his or her behalf. The company must also show there are no qualified Americans for the job. Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), said that ™although this bill ostensibly seeks to increase STEM visas, it appears to have another, in my opinion, more sinister purpose: to reduce legal immigrant levels.∫ Democrats hope that Congress will be able to reach a consensus on a STEM visa bill this year.

With files from the Associated Press.