House to vote on changes to country-based immigration caps

On Behalf of | Jul 10, 2019 | US Immigration Law

The Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act, which was fast-tracked in the U.S. House of Representatives and is set for a vote this week, aims to remove country-based limits in the employment immigration system. The bill has drawn support from both Republicans and Democrats and focuses on reducing wait times for highly-skilled workers.

Quotas keep many skilled workers waiting years for a visa

As we touched on in last week’s post, “per-country limits” place a cap on how many people can immigrate to the United States each year from different parts of the world. Currently, only 7% of the 140,000 employment-based green cards can go to immigrants from a single country.

If passed, the Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act would eliminate per-country limitations for employment-based visas and increase the caps for family-sponsored visas. Proponents of the bill point to the current caps’ disproportionate impact on countries with larger populations, such as India and China. Analysis by the Cato Institute estimates that, due to backlogs in applications, workers from India with advanced degrees would theoretically wait 151 years for a green card.

Critics worry about handouts to Big Tech

Opponents of the bill say it will give big tech companies more incentive to hire workers from India and China rather than graduates from the United States. Others worry that eliminating the caps will mean the vast majority of visas will go to applicants from India, who currently face the longest wait times.

In an immigration system that is continuously evolving, it is important for visa applicants to have someone who is on their side. To learn how changing legislation might impact your immigration status or a loved one’s, contact an experienced immigration attorney.