‘Biden Immigration Bill Aims To Ease STEM Graduates’ Stay In The US

New measure proposes path to permanent residency for international students after graduation

For international students like Mariel Tai, President Joe Biden’s new immigration proposal is a sigh of relief.

At the beginning of her undergraduate career, Tai’s main priority was to study in the United States, in hopes of eventually becoming a resident. Upon hearing that STEM majors are granted more job opportunities, she switched her major from business to STEM.

“My goal is not to get into a specific major, but more of wanting to stay in the [United States],” Tai said. “I want to find a job here. I want to do anything I can do to increase my chances. That’s the American dream, right?”

Tai is now a senior at the UW studying molecular, cellular, and developmental biology and participating in the Foster Sales Program. She’s hoping to find a job in biotechnology, but she’s struggling to find a job due to her status as an international student.

Biden’s proposed legislation includes measures that reverse or revise many of former President Donald Trump’s policies. Among these revisions are changing student visa distribution, eliminating per-country visa caps, and paving a way to permanent residency for international students in STEM majors after graduation.

The UW currently has nearly 8,000 international students holding either F-1 or J-1 student visas. Sharece Bunn, assistant director for international student advising from International Student Services (ISS) at the UW, notes that these visas are the most common nonimmigrant visas for those studying in the United States.

An F-1 student visa allows students to enter the United States under acceptance of an accredited academic institution, assuming they are studying full-time, according to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. Bunn said J-1 visas are targeted more at cultural exchange visitors.

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