US could lift per country green card limits: Details here
In what could turn out to be good news for Indian professionals, two identical bills backed by powerful legislators and companies like Google have been introduced in both the House of Representatives and the Senate to end the per country limit for green cards. If the legislation does get passed by the Congress, Indians will benefit hugely from it. Here are the details.
Indian-American presidential aspirant, Kamala Harris, introduced the bill
The Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act was tabled in the Senate by Republican Mike Lee and Democratic presidential aspirant Kamala Harris on Wednesday. On the same day, an identical legislation was introduced in the House of Representatives by Congressmen Zoe Lofgren and Ken Buck, with co-sponsorship of a bipartisan group of 112 other Congressmen.
Must eliminate discriminatory backlogs: Harris
"We must do more to eliminate discriminatory backlogs and facilitate family unity so that high-skilled immigrants are not vulnerable to exploitation and can stay in the US and continue to contribute to the economy," said Harris while introducing the bill.
As it stands, Indians often have long wait times
As it stands, Indians often have longer green card wait times than nationals of other countries. If the bill is made into a law, the current per country limit on green card allotments will be lifted. In such a case, thousands of Indian professionals working in the US on H-1B visas and having decades of waiting time for their green cards would greatly benefit.
What the current rules for green card allotment are
The US currently awards 140,000 green cards to employment-based immigrants annually. However, the maximum number of green cards one country can get is just 7% of the total number of annual allotments. Owing to differences in population, nationals of populous countries like India often have longer waiting times than those from low population countries.
Some Indians face 151 years of waiting time
According to studies, some categories of Indian professionals working in the US could face a wait time of an unimaginable 151 years to get a green card under the current system.
The proposed changes under the Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act
The Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act proposes to increase this 7% per country limit for family-sponsored green cards to 15%. Further, it alters the per country limit for employment-based immigrants so that they're treated equally regardless of their country of birth. Without adding any new green cards, it would create a "first-come, first-served" system that alleviates backlogs, and allows green cards to be allotted efficiently.