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S. 1986 (112th): Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Visa Act of 2011

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The summary below was written by the Congressional Research Service, which is a nonpartisan division of the Library of Congress, and was published on Dec 13, 2011.

Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Visa Act of 2011 or STEM Visa Act of 2011 - Amends the Immigration and Nationality Act to establish a priority worker immigrant visa for an alien who has a qualifying: (1) master's or higher degree in a field of science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM degree) from a U.S. institution of higher education; and (2) employment offer from a U.S. employer.

Eliminates the foreign residency requirement for certain foreign students.

Allows extensions of stay based upon a lengthy labor certification or priority adjudication for: (1) foreign students, (2) speciality occupation aliens, and (3) intracompany transfers.

Provides for the recapture of unused employment-based and family-based immigrant visas.

Exempts spouses and minor children from counting against numerical limits.

Revises per country (and dependent) area limits to: (1) eliminate employment-based limits, and (2) increase family-based limits.

Establishes in the Treasury the STEM Education and Training Account. Requires that 60% of Account funds be used for a STEM scholarship program for low-income U.S. students enrolled in degree programs in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics.

Authorizes certain undocumented higher education students who first entered the United States when they were 15 years old or younger to adjust to nonimmigrant student status.

Revises labor certification provisions, including: (1) requiring the Department of Labor to adjudicate an application within 120 days, (2) creating an Established U.S. Recruiter designation for recruiters who regularly recruit U.S. workers, and (3) authorizing a premium application processing fee.

Revises the prevailing wage level computation formula.

Revises H-1B visa (specialty occupation) provisions regarding: (1) wages, (2) U.S. worker displacement and protections, (3) recruitment requirements, (4) portability, (5) creation of a P-visa for fashion models in lieu of H-1B visa inclusion, (6) elimination of extensions for certain short-term workers, and (7) retention of petition priority date.

Revises L-visa (intracompany transferee) provisions regarding: (1) wage requirements for certain L-1B visa (specialized knowledge) employees, (2) investigations of complaints against employers, and (3) the blanket petition process for employers who hire large numbers of intracompany transferees.

Revises EB-5 employment creation investor provisions to: (1) require a visa set-aside for an employment creation regional center program, (2) provide a preapproval procedure for new commercial enterprises, (3) revise targeted employment area provisions, and (4) provide a limited extension for employers to meet program requirements.

Establishes in the Treasury the Immigrant Entrepreneur Account.