Bill allowing more visas for engineers, computer programmers receives bipartisan support

Rep. Loretta Sanchez
Rep. Loretta Sanchez
Kitty Felde/KPCC

Listen to story

Download this story 0.0MB

Democrats and Republicans on Capitol Hill don’t agree on much, but there’s bipartisan support in the U.S. House and Senate for a measure that would increase the number of visas for engineers and computer programmers.

The so-called “Startup Act 2.0” is designed to keep U.S.-educated foreign students with advanced degrees in the United States. Fifty-thousand new visas would be available to students with master's degrees or Ph.D.s in science, engineering, math or computer fields.

Republican Congressman Devin Nunes of California’s Central Valley said the bill does "the right thing, trying to recruit people that have special talents that, quite frankly, we need. Because we’re falling behind in math and science."

Democratic Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez of Anaheim said the measure also eliminates per-country caps on employment-based visas. "So what we’re really trying to do is make sure that the talent that is here not artificially shut off just because they might be from a particular country that has hit its cap for the year."

The change would allow more talented people from India, Brazil and China to work — and start businesses — in this country. The bill also would double the number of family visas for countries like Mexico. A duplicate bill has been introduced in the Senate.