Washington, D.C. – Congressman Erik Paulsen (MN-03) and Congressman Mike Quigley (IL-05) introduced the bipartisan Stopping Trained in America Ph.D.s from Leaving the Economy (STAPLE) Act, which would exempt foreign-born individuals who have earned an American Ph.D. in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM) from the limits on the number of employment-based green cards and H-1B visas awarded annually.
“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 learned to contribute to the American economy,” said Congressman Paulsen. “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.”
“If we are serious about fostering innovation, spurring economic activity, and staying competitive in the global marketplace, we must encourage the brightest minds in the world to study, work, and stay in our communities,” said Congressman Quigley. “We cannot advance our technology or research if we continue sending foreign-born, but U.S. educated, students with advanced degrees away. I am proud to join Rep. Paulsen in re-introducing the STAPLE Act, which invests in our future by supporting STEM educated professionals that want to contribute to our economy and society.”
H-1B visas, also known as high-skilled visas, are subject to annual caps that are woefully short of the number necessary to fill high-skilled jobs. Since April 1 when the U.S. began accepting H-1B petitions, the U.S. has received 233,000 applications for these high-skilled visas. Only 65,000 will be available this year, meaning that applicants will be subject to a lottery where two-out-of-three applicants will be denied a visa.
Numerous studies have found that H-1B visas correspond with an increase in jobs for native citizens. For example, a 2011 American Enterprise Institute study found that “an additional 100 foreign-born workers in STEM fields with advanced degrees from U.S. universities is associated with an additional 262 jobs among U.S. natives.”
Congressman Paulsen, a champion of small business and advocate of free enterprise, entrepreneurship, and innovation, serves on the House Ways and Means Committee, the bicameral Joint Economic Committee, and is co-chair of the Congressional Medical Technology Caucus.