On June 23, 2023, Representatives Shri Thanedar (D-MI-13) and Mike Lawler (R-NY-17), introduced the Putting Highest Degrees First (PhD) Act (H.R. 4538)

The bill exempts from the annual employment-based green card caps international students who earn a doctoral degree (or “the terminal highest degree awarded in a field of study for which a doctoral degree or its equivalent is not available”) while in the United States from a U.S. higher education institution.

To meet the requirements for the cap exemption, these STEM PhD graduates must have a job offer or be employed in a field related to the field of study, and be paid higher than the median wage for the occupation.