The United States Senate unanimously passed a bill on December 3 to eliminate immigration caps for Green Cards applications by work visa holders: the per-country numerical limit for employment-based immigration visas. Known as the Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act, the bill also increases the limits for family-based visas. The new legislation impacts many H-1B workers who may be waiting for permanent residency or a Green Card for years – or even decades.
The bill was passed by the U.S. House of Representatives on July 10, 2019, with 365 to 65 votes. The new legislation increases the per-country cap on family-based immigrant visas from 7% of the total number of visas available in any year to 15%:
• 15% in FY 2020
• 10% in FY 2021 and FY 2022
If approved by the President, the new law will put into place transition rules for employment-based visas for FY2020-FY2022 and reserve a percentage of EB-2 (workers with advanced degrees or exceptional ability), EB-3 (skilled and other workers), and EB-5 (investors) visas for individuals not from the two countries with the largest number of recipients of these visas, India and China.
The Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act is a form of merit-based immigration. The United State’s current immigration policy per-country system means that an applicant’s wait time to get Green Card is based on their home country. Many immigration advocates feel that the current system is unfair because it favors workers from certain countries over others, and hurts immigrants from other countries, like India.
There is currently a backlog of nearly one million foreign nationals and accompanying family members who are legally living in the U.S. and who have been approved for and are waiting to receive employment-based Green Cards. The largest number of backlogged H-1B visa workers are from India.
Many immigration experts say that current USCIS immigration policies are primarily merit-based; H-1B visa merits are determined by employers, instead of the merits chosen by the government.
Godoy Law Office keeps the American Dream alive by guiding immigrants to make informed, smart legal decisions. For a consultation regarding your immigration law concerns, contact Godoy Law in Chicago online or call us at 855-554-6369.