Bills introduced to remove per-country green card limits

World

09 Feb 2019

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.

Introduction

Indian-American presidential aspirant, Kamala Harris, introduced the bill

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.

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Scenario

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.

Rules

What the current rules for green card allotment are

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.

Changes

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.

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US Immigration Policy

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Fairness

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Republican Mike Lee

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Most asked questions

What are green cards?

What are H-1B visas?

How long are green card wait times for Indians?

Why are there wait times for getting green cards?

More questions

What are green cards?

Asked 2019-02-09 19:35:40 by Vishal Sharma

Answered by NewsBytes

A green card makes its holder a permanent residence of the United States of America. Green cards are also called Permanent Residence Cards.

What are H-1B visas?

Asked 2019-02-09 19:35:40 by Sanvi Vyas

Answered by NewsBytes

H-1B visas are awarded to highly-skilled foreign workers so that they can work in the US. H-1B visa holders often file for green cards later on.

How long are green card wait times for Indians?

Asked 2019-02-09 19:35:40 by Trisha Sarin

Answered by NewsBytes

Thousands of Indians have decades of waiting time for obtaining green cards, and in some cases, wait times could be as long as 151 years.

Why are there wait times for getting green cards?

Asked 2019-02-09 19:35:40 by Vivaan Gupta

Answered by NewsBytes

Owing the per country limit, there are thousands of backlog green card applications that are yet to be cleared. Hence, new applicants face decades-long waiting times.

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