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Faster Green Card?
High-Skilled Immigration Act
Individuals from India and China who provide to most high-skilled jobs in the U.S. often have to wait up to 10 years for a green card due to the per-country cap. The High-Skilled Immigration Act, aims to correct such imbalances by switching to a first come, first served system for the roughly 140,000 employment-based green cards awarded each year, writes attorney Mahesh Bajoria.
The House of Representatives recently passed the Fairness for High-Skilled Immigration Act- H. R. 3012 by a 389-15 vote. The Bill has to be approved by the Senate before it becomes the law. The bill is expected to move swiftly through the Senate and it is expected that it will be passed.
Currently, there is a limit on per country employment-based green cards available for foreign nationals in highly skilled job categories, mainly from the tech sector. U.S. immigration law limits employment-based green cards for citizens from any one country to no more than 7% of the total green cards approved by the State Department in any particular year.
The rule makes it easier to obtain a green card for applicants from smaller countries that don’t generate a significant amount of applications, but makes it tougher for workers from big countries like India and China that make up a major chunk of the foreign tech workers sought by U.S. companies.
Individuals from India and China who provide to most high-skilled jobs in the U.S. often have to wait up to 10 years for a green card due to the per-country cap. The High-Skilled Immigration Act, aims to correct such imbalances by switching to a first come, first served system for the roughly 140,000 employment-based green cards awarded each year.
Critics state that the passing of the Bill would mean an increase in the number of immigrants to the U.S. seeking more jobs at a time when unemployment rate in the U.S. is at its highest in recent times, and this may result in fewer jobs made available to the U.S. workers. It is not so. The Bill does not seek to increase the total number of immigrants to the U.S. The Bill on the other hand eliminates the per country cap on immigrants. What it would mean is that all countries would be treated at par whether it is a big country like India or China or a smaller country like Brazil or Iceland. This will definitely help countries like India and China, where the wait time could be as high as 10 years. The Bill will eliminate the disparity in the wait time for countries like India and China as compared to other countries.
As a result of the passage of this Bill, the cut-off date in the employment-based categories would mean a single cut-off date in each of the employment-based categories. The single cut-off date for each employment-based category, whether it is for EB 2, EB 3, EB 4, or EB 5 would mean one cut-off date for all countries whether the candidate is from India, China or any other country. However, each category would have its own cut-off date. What it culminates into is that countries like India and China who have a larger number of candidates waiting for green card as compared to the per country cap would get benefited. There would be one cut-off date for all countries. It is expected that wait time for employment-based immigrants waiting from India and China would move much faster. However, those who are under the impression that this Bill would make cut-off date for all employment categories under EB 2 and EB 3 category current may be mistaken.
With the passage of the Bill the cut-off dates for India and China may advance and do better than what it is as present. It is expected that EB 2 cut-off date for India, which stands at March 15, 2008 may become current, and the EB 3 cut-off date which stands at August 1, 2002 may advance considerably but may not come to January 15, 2006, which is the cut-off date for all other countries. This Bill however, puts candidates from countries other than India and China at a disadvantage as their cut-off date, which is much earlier than that of India and China may take a hit and would have the same date as of India and China by bringing all countries at one level.
In a nutshell, the H.R Bill 3012 if passed by the Senate would definitely help nationals from India and China in getting their permanent residency sooner than what it is at present.
(The information provided here is of a general nature and is not to be construed as legal advice nor intended to apply for any specific or particular circumstance. Consult your legal advisor before relying on the author’s views and information.)
Mahesh Bajoria is an attorney practicing law in Fremont, Calif. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.