Ex-Sen. Sununu, Tech Firms Push House To Raise Visa Cap For STEM Workers

Former Sen. John Sununu, R-New Hampshire is pushing for Congress to double the number of visas available to high tech workers. Such a move would benefit Houston in particular.

Nearly one in every four jobs produced in Houston is a STEM job — requiring knowledge of science, technology, engineering or math. The number of American graduates in STEM fields falls well short of demand. The H-1B visa program allows foreigners pursuing these fields to study and work in the United States.

There’s an annual limit on H-1-B visas. Former Sen. Sununu says that cap is long out of date.

“The cap we have is 65,000 visas. We need to raise that. Hasn’t been raised in twenty years. The 65,000 high-tech visa spots were gone this year in just five days.”

Sununu is heading up a coalition of businesses and nonprofit groups called inSPIRE STEM USA. The organization’s members are lobbying the House to raise the cap as part of any immigration reform bill. The fees collected from such additional visa sales would be applied to STEM education programs here in the U.S.

The Senate immigration reform bill, passed at the end of June, includes a similar provision. 


Andrew Schneider

Andrew Schneider

Politics and Government Reporter

Andrew heads Houston Public Media’s coverage of national, state, and local elections. He also reports on major policy issues before the Texas Legislature and county and city governments across Greater Houston. Before taking up his current post, Andrew spent five years as Houston Public Media’s business reporter, covering the oil...

More Information