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IDEA Act 2011 - Changes To F1 Visa

17 Jun 2011


Sweeping changes have been proposed in Immigration Driving Entrepreneurship in America (IDEA) Act of 2011, which would allows American companies to attract and retain highly-skilled foreign graduates of American universities in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) fields.

The IDEA Act would also create a new green card category for entrepreneurs who establish new start-up businesses, create jobs for American workers, and invest in the American economy.

The legislation reforms the current F1-, H-1B and L-1B visa programs to better protect workers from exploitation and prevent the undercutting of American wages. The fees generated by these new visa categories and reforms would be invested in our educational system to better prepare American students for the jobs of tomorrow.

This article highlights the changes proposed to F1 Visa.

F1 Visa – IDEA ACT 2011

Sec. 101. U.S. Graduates in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.

  • (a) Advanced STEM Graduates. Allows businesses to attract and retain successful innovators by creating a new “EB-1” green card category for advanced degree holders in Science, Technology,Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) from certain U.S. universities that excel in STEM instruction.
    • The Best and the Brightest. Requires an advanced degree from an accredited public or nonprofit university classified by the National Science Foundation (NSF) as a research institution or as otherwise excelling in STEM instruction.
    • Job Offer and Prevailing Wage Required. Requires a job offer in a field related to the graduate’s degree and that offered wages meet or exceed the “prevailing wage” in that occupation.
  • (b) Cap Exemption. Exempts these advanced STEM degree holders, as well as persons who qualify under the current EB-1 category for “outstanding professors and researchers,” from numerical limits.
  • (c) Removing Visa Hurdles for Students. Addresses a technicality in current law that prevents companies from obtaining green cards for foreign students without first sending them home or putting them on H-1B visas.
    • Providing Dual Intent. Provides students with so-called “dual intent,” allowing employers to recruit foreign students in the U.S. without first requiring an H-1B visa or the student’s departure.
    • Extensions in Cases of Lengthy Adjudications. Expands protections that now exist for H-1B visa holders to persons with F visas (students) and L visas (inter-company transferees). Extends visa status when a green card petition is filed until it is adjudicated.
  • (d) Conforming Amendments. Conforms the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).


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