The America COMPETES Act 2022

In News-

  • The United States has recently announced the creation of a new ambitious legislation called America Creating Opportunities for Manufacturing, Pre-Eminence in Technology, and Economic Strength (COMPETES) Act, 2022. This Act proposes to open up new vistas for talented individuals from across the world with a new start-up visa and will create numerous opportunities for America’s manufacturing, preeminence in technology, and economic strength.
  • Its main aim is to strengthen the supply chains and re-energise the country’s economy so that it can lead the rest of the world, especially China.

In this article we shall discuss the important points of this Act and how it is relevant for India. This article is very important for the GS Paper 2 both for UPSC Prelims and Mains. Tap on the link to know more about the syllabus and strategy to prepare for the prelims.

Practice the answer writing for mains by clicking here.

Important Provisions of the Act-

  1. Grants and loans of $ 45 billion to improve supply chain resilience and manufacturing, in the US, among other programs.
  2. To further encourage semiconductor production in the US, $ 52 billion is allocated.
  3. It allocates funding to address social and economic inequality, climate change and immigration. e.g. It offers an exemption for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering or Mathematics) Doctorates from the green card limit and creates a new green card for entrepreneurs.
  4. To reduce the dependency of the United States on solar components manufactured in Xinjiang, China, the bill authorizes $ 600 million a year to build manufacturing facilities.
  5. The Act, among other things, amends the Immigration and Nationality Act to create a new classification of “W” non-immigrants for entrepreneurs with an ownership interest in a startup entity, essential employees of a startup entity and also their spouses and children.

Other Features of the Bill-

  • It establishes procedures for foreign nationals with an ownership interest in a startup entity to self-petition for classification as a W-1 non-immigrant and to receive extensions of such classification for up to eight years if the entity meets certain growth benchmarks.
  • It also provides for a limited number of W-2 visas for personnel who are essential to the growth and success of the startup entity if the startup serves as the basis for the W-1 status of a founder.
  • It provides the Secretary of Homeland Security discretion to classify an individual as a W-1 non-immigrant for a three-year period initially if the individual possesses an ownership interest of not less than 10 per cent in a startup entity.

Why was the Bill brought in?

  • It will help bring manufacturing jobs back to the United States, and they are directly focused on removing supply chain bottlenecks like semiconductors that have led to higher prices for the middle class.
  • The aim of the legislation is to reinvigorate the US economy, to strengthen its presence in the world market and get hold of its dominance as in the 20th century.

Relevance Of The Act for India

  • It would open the door for more opportunities in the US for Indian talent and skilled workers.
  • Each year, the US government issues 85,000 H-1B work permits — 65,000 to those with specialized jobs and the remaining 20,000 to foreign workers who have earned a master’s or higher degree in the United States.
  • Every year, Indians and Indian companies corner the lion’s share of H-1B work permits issued that year. With the introduction of this new category, there will be better chances for Indian professionals to grow and succeed than the law is likely to offer.

Frequently asked questions-

  1. What is Work visa?
    • To fill a vacuum of the high-skilled low cost employees in IT and other related domains, the US administration issues a certain number of visas each year. These are called work visas.
    • With the IT revolution and arrival of internet and low-cost computers in developing nations like India, the number of people who are willing to work at relatively low costs in the US has also increased. This is a win-win situation for both the employer and the employee.
    • These visas allow companies from outside the US to send employees to work on client sites.
    • According to a report as of 2019, about 2.7 million Indian immigrants resided in the United States.
  2. What are H-1B, H-2B, L-1,J-1 and H-4 Visas?
  • H-1B Visa: These are issued to skilled workers who have high professional degrees. These visas are the most popular among Indian IT companies. It is for people in Specialty Occupation and requires a higher education degree or its equivalent.
  • H-2B Visas: It allows food and agricultural workers to seek employment in the US. These are basically issued to seasonal workers in the landscaping and hospitality industries.
  • L-1 Visas: It allows Multinational companies to transfer highly skilled workers to the US for a period of up to seven years.
  • J-1 Visas: It is for students on work-study summer programmes
  • H-4 Visas: It is for dependents of H-1B visa holders.

To learn in details about H-1 B Visas, click here

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