The COMPETES Act and Immigration Reform

There are potentially big developments on the horizon for U.S. immigration law. For instance, a Bill is moving through Congress that could have profound impact on U.S. immigration. The “America Creating Opportunities for Manufacturing, Pre-Eminence in Technology, and Economic Strength Act of 2022,” also referred to as the “America COMPETES Act of 2022,” or simply the “COMPETES ACT,” passed the U.S. House of Representatives back on February 4th of this year. Seen as a means to foster innovation and global competitiveness, the COMPETES Act is attached to aspirations for attracting and retaining immigration talent in the U.S.

The COMPETES Act and Immigration Reform

The COMPETES Act passed the House as members voted along party lines. It then moved to the Senate and will need to be reconciled with the Senate’s own version of the Bill, a bipartisan version that was approved back in 2021. This is expected to be no easy feat as Senate Republicans have since soured on the contents of the Bill for a number of reasons.

Still, there is hope that the COMPETES Act will survive and pass in the Senate. Lawmakers remain hopeful that this piece of legislation can bring great talent, particularly in STEM fields, to the U.S. The Bill is intended to strengthen the U.S. ability to compete in the field of semiconductor manufacturing and research. Along with key immigration reforms, the Bill authorizes billions of dollars aimed at supporting domestic research and development of semiconductors.

Some of the key immigration reform provisions within the COMPETES Act include:

  • Temporary Protected Status for certain Hong Kong residents
  • A new W Visa category for foreign entrepreneurs and startup company members
  • An immigration path for those earning a Ph.D. in a science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM) field from a school that meets certain research requirements

These provisions are intended to create new opportunities for immigrant entrepreneurs interested in building businesses in the U.S. The creation of a new W visa category for startups would be made available to both foreign entrepreneurs and startup founders. This new visa category would also be made available to essential employees of these startups, along with spouses and children. Should a startup prove successful, an immigrant entrepreneur, along with employees and certain family members, could apply for lawful permanent resident status in the U.S.

The COMPETES Act would also provide a direct path to U.S. permanent resident status for immigrants who earn a Ph.D. in a STEM field at a qualifying U.S. institute of higher education. This would be a particularly sweeping reform as several thousands of graduates may be eligible for such an initiative each year. Data from the U.S. Department of Education reveals that nearly half of all STEM Ph.D. students graduating from U.S. universities in the 2019-2020 academic year were, in fact, immigrants.

Immigration Law Attorneys

If you have any questions about how the immigration and nationality laws in the United States may impact you or your family, or if you want to access additional information about United States or Canadian immigration and nationality laws, please feel free to get in touch with the immigration and nationality lawyers at Nachman, Phulwani, Zimovcak (NPZ) Law Group, P.C. You can send us an email at info@visaserve.com or you can call us at 201-670-0006 extension 104. In addition, we invite you to find more information on our website at www.visaserve.com.