Merit Based Visa: New path to green card with immigration reform

Proposed immigration reform would create a merit-based points system for immigrant visas, basing eligibility off a series of relevant factors such as education and employment. The Merit Based Visa is a permanent resident visa, part of Gang of Eight’s Immigration Act awaiting hearings in Congress next week.

The Merit Based Visa will be enacted in the fifth year of reform, awarding points to applicants based on education, employment, length of residence in the U.S. and other factors. Applicants will be expected to be participants in worker programs and have family in the U.S. Visas will be awarded to individuals with the most points at an initial cap of 120,000 visas per year. If demand increases, the cap will be increased by 5% per year in years where unemployment is under 8.5% with a maximum cap of 250,000.

Applicants of other visas who have been waiting a significant period of time to be processed may also apply for merit-based immigrant visas.   Beginning October 1, 2014, the following applicants may apply for a merit based visa:

  • Employment-based visa pending for more than three years;
  • Family-based petitions filed prior to enactment and pending for more than five years;
  • Long-term nonimmigrant workers; and
  • Other merit-based immigrant workers.

This legislative bill, if passed, will bring to the U.S. comprehensive immigration reform, with provisions extending far beyond the merit-based visa.  The points-based system of the merit-based visa is a modern immigration system used in such countries as the United Kingdom, Canada and Australia. Its technique works to award the most qualified candidates visas determined by a combination of relevant factors rather than simply family relation or employment experience.

More on Immigration Reform:

  • Immigration Reform 2013
  • Gang of 8
  • Earned Citizenship
  • Streamlining Immigration
  • Strengthening Border Security
  • More Accountability for Employers Hiring Undocumented Immigrants