PhD Students May Get Exemption From H1B Cap

The STAPLE Act (Stopping Trained in America PhDs from Leaving the Economy) which was recently reintroduced in the House of Representatives proposes to grant H1B visas to all foreign students who have completed their PhD in science, technology, engineering or mathematics from an institution that qualifies as a United States institution of higher education. This bill would exempt these students from the cap on total number of employment-based green cards and H1B visas awarded annually. If passed, this could be great news for the Indian student community who constitute majority of the foreign student population in America.

Congressman, Mike Quigley who was instrumental in bringing back this Bill, said if the US was serious about fostering innovation, spurring economic activity, and staying competitive in the global marketplace, it must encourage the brightest minds in the world to study, work, and stay in its communities. “We cannot advance our technology or research if we continue sending foreign-born, but US-educated, students with advanced degrees away,” he said

The Bill quoted a study that found that H-1B visas correspond with an increase in jobs for native citizens. According to a 2011 American Enterprise Institute study – ‘an additional 100 foreign-born workers in STEM (science, technology, engineering, or mathematics) fields with advanced degrees from US universities is associated with an additional 262 jobs among US natives’.

In light of the executive order passed last month that tightens the noose around the H-1B visa program and enforces ‘Hire American’ rules that are designed to protect jobs and wages of workers in the US, this will be a welcome respite for scores of foreign students who come here to study and explore a future. For those interested in pursuing higher education in the United States as an international student, you may find some pertinent information regarding the visa process at F1 Student Visa Process.