Country Wise Cap on Green Cards May End, If Bill Passes in CongressTop Stories

February 08, 2019 14:09
Country Wise Cap on Green Cards May End, If Bill Passes in Congress

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Lawmakers from both US House of Representatives and the Senate have presented identical legislation.

If passed it would end the country wise cap on green card and it will benefit number of Indian professional waiting in the list to get permanent residency in the country.

Some of the top companies from Silicon Valley are backing the legislations.

Indian Professionals on H-1B visas whose waiting time for permanent legal residency is more than decade, the bill can benefit only if the legislations passed by congress and signed into a law.

H-1B is a visa that allows US companies to employ foreign workers in speciality occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise.

According to recent study some of the Indian professionals face a wait time of 150 years under the present system imposes country cap on green card.

The US makes currently 140,000 green cards available yearly to employment based immigrants and which includes many who first come here on temporary L or H-1B visas.

Current law only provides 7 per cent of these green cards to nationals of one country, even though one country is much populous than other.

Because of this current 7 per cent limit, post-graduate’s from China and India have to wait a decade or more for a green card longer than a people from a less populated country.

In the Senate, Republican Mike Lee and Democrat Kamala Harris introduced the Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act on Wednesday, a legislation bill that would remove country wise caps for employment-based green cards.

Kamala Harris said, “Ours is a nation of immigrants, and our strength has always come from our diversity and our unity.”

Indian-American senator said, “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.”

It was Co-sponsored by 13 more Senators, the Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act increases the per-country caps for family-sponsored green cards from current 7 per cent to 15 per cent.

Without adding any new green cards, it creates a "first-come, first-served" system that alleviates the backlogs and allows green cards to be awarded more efficiently.

“Immigrants should not be penalized due to their country of origin. Treating people fairly and equally is part of our founding creed and the Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act reflects that belief. Immigration is often a contentious issue, but we should not delay progress in areas where there is bipartisan consensus just because we have differences in other areas,” Mike Lee said.

The bill was also endorsed by Immigration Voice, Compete America Coalition, the Information Technology Industry Council, Google, Walmart, the US Chamber of Commerce, National Association of Manufacturers, The Heritage Foundation, La Raza, and others.

A Similar bill Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act (HR 1044) was tabled in the US House of Representatives by Congressman Zoe Lofgren and Ken Buck, Chair and Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration and Citizenship, with co-sponsorship of a bipartisan group of 112 Congressmen.

This bill will alters the per-country limits for employment-based immigrants so that all are treated equally regardless of their country of birth.

Zoe Lofgren said, “In combination with the per country limits, these backlogs keep nuclear families apart for decades, while preventing US employers from accessing and retaining the employees they need to stay competitive. The Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act begins to address these problems and makes the immigration system somewhat more rational. It is a small, but good step forward.”

Ken Buck said “year after year, he has met with constituents who come here legally on work visas from India or China and face decades-long wait times for obtaining permanent residence.”

He said, “We want to ensure America remains globally competitive, we need to ease the backlogs and leverage the talent and expertise of our high-skilled immigrants who help strengthen the U.S. economy and fill knowledge gaps in certain fields.”

“These are people who have helped America grow and thrive as a nation of immigrants and the US needs to make sure the system continues to value those who are following American laws and doing the right thing,” he argued.

Aman Kapoor, co-founder and president of Immigration Voice, welcomed the move and said, “It would help to grow our economy by allowing highly skilled immigrants to start their own companies and hire American workers. And, it will finally remove the last vestiges of discrimination from our high-skilled immigration system.”

-Sai Kumar

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US lawmakers  Green Card