Currently in the U.S., approximately 1 million lawfully present foreign workers and their family members have been approved for, and are waiting to receive, green card status. The backlog results from the fact that the government-regulated supply of employment-green cards falls far short of the annual supply available. In addition, U.S. law imposes a 7% annual cap per country on how many of its nationals may immigrate through a job offer. The result is an inordinately long wait for Indian and Chinese nationals for employment-based green cards.
H.R. 1044 and S. 386 are aimed at amending U.S. immigration law to eliminate the 7% per-country numerical limit. If enacted, this legislation would allocate the backlog across all countries by changing the application system to a first-come, first-served basis. However, the bills would not reduce the overall wait time for employment-based visas, since the total annual number of employment-based green cards, 140,000, would not change. The main effect of the bills would be to reduce the current backlog of Chinese and Indian visa applications at the expense of immigrants from other countries.
The two bills are quite similar in most respects. If negotiations remain and if President Trump is willing to sign it before he leaves office on his last day, this reallocation will become law. There are a lot of questions and oppositions coming from different industries, and other countries who all are alarmed about possible delays for their citizens who could be caught in very long wait times.
Indian & Chinese foreign nationals will benefit from these bills. Citizens of the rest of the world’s countries would face dramatically longer waits than exist currently because the extra immigrant visa numbers from family and employment-based cases are now going to be distributed using a different computation. Example, if there is no waiting time in the EB-2 category for some countries to get approval for their adjustment of status (I-485), they may end up having to wait for five years or so.
Instead of giving opportunity to all skilled workers from different countries, most workers will only be coming from India and may result in excluding artists and athletes from other countries. It will eventually shut down the EB-5 Investor Visa Program that entices millions of dollars to America and supports employing thousands of workers. Some argue that there are other solutions to the problem with India backlog like removing derivative family members in the visa count and have Congress agree to give out more immigrant visas.
If these bills become law, foreign nationals from Europe, Australia, South America, Japan will be negatively affected in the extreme. Critics of the bills emphasize employers in a few industries, such as high tech, will benefit. The proposed bills have a potential to abolish diversity in immigration. Supporters for Latin American immigrants have spoken out against the bill.
We at Perry and Alznauer, P.C. are closely and continuously monitoring the situation as it develops. If you or your family member might be potentially impacted by these proposed bills, contact our office at email@example.com or call Toll Free (866) 201-6355 to schedule a consultation. The more you know, the earlier you can prepare for what is to come.
For further reading and information, here is a short list of Bill Companions:
|Bill||Bill Name||Last Action|
|HR1044||Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act of 2019||Message on Senate action sent to the House.|
|HR5327||RELIEF Act Resolving Extended Limbo for Immigrant Employees and Families Act||Referred to the Subcommittee on Immigration and Citizenship.|
|S328||Startup Act||Read twice and referred to the Committee on the Judiciary.|
|S2603||RELIEF Act Resolving Extended Limbo for Immigrant Employees and Families Act||Read twice and referred to the Committee on the Judiciary. (text: CR S5843-5845)|