The US House of Representatives has seen the reintroduction of a bill that looks to relax the country's currently strict H1-B visa rules, but only for a select few professionals. It basicallyu looks to exempt people born outside the US who go on to get American PhDs in science, technology, engineering or mathematics from the current and limited H1-B visa programme.
Indians have for quite some time been the biggest users of H1-B visas to get into the US for work. However, current US President Donald Trump has limited the number of H1-B visas the US issues every year. He has signed an executive order to that effect, apparently to stop its "misuse."
The result of that executive order is that a lot of Indian talent has been prevented from travelling to the US, even as Trump insists that top information technology (IT) companies functioning there have had to resort to widespread job cuts in other countries. And that has happened in India as well, with projections saying that 56,000 IT jobs may be lost across seven companies in the country.
However, the Stopping Trained in America PhDs from Leaving the Economy (STAPLE) Act, reintroduced into the US House of Representatives by Congressmen Erik Paulsen and Mike Quigley, may just give Indians some extra benefit, because they constitute the largest number of PhD students in the US. Thus, while more Indians may be able to get into the US, some more who have gained their PhDs may get to stay in that country.
Speaking about the bill, Paulsen said: "It is no surprise that the brightest minds from around the world come to the United States to pursue their advanced degrees, and we should be doing all we can to ensure students we educate and train here use what they've learnt to contribute to the American economy."
He added: "With thousands of high-skilled jobs going unfilled, the STAPLE Act makes sure American companies are getting the talent they need. By stapling a green card or visa to their diplomas, these professionals can invent and innovate new discoveries that grow our economy."
Quigley stressed on the important of talent — irrespective of origin — in innovation, saying: "We cannot advance our technology or research if we continue sending foreign-born but US-educated, students with advanced degrees away."