Recently, the House of Representatives passed a bill that made a small alteration to the visa system that would facilitate more highly skilled immigrants from countries like India and China to become lawful permanent resident s in the US. 389 members voted for the bill, and 15 were against it. Sponsors of the bill were several Democrats, who are outspoken liberals when it comes to the immigration topic. The bill does not deal with illegal immigration, neither does it adds any new visas to the system. The proposed bill was sure to pass easily in the Senate. As the bill has now been passed, the main focus will now shift to reducing visa backlogs. It is worth mentioning the fact that some Indians having science or technology skills approved for permanent residency (green cards) would need to wait for 70 years before they would actually get the documents.
The bill has removed limitations on the number of green cards that can be issued based on employment annually to each country. Currently, 140,000 green cards are available every year for foreign nationals based on their job skills. Every country is restricted to 7 percent of these visas. After the bill getting passed now, moving forward, after a three-year transition, all employment-based green cards will be issued on a first-come-first-serve basis, regardless of any country limits. There was also another measure added that will more than double the green cards based on family relationship available for Mexicans and Filipinos, considering the fact that these two countries face the longest backlogs on the family side of the system. It increases the limit for 226,000 family green cards each year from the present 7 percent to 15 percent.
An important fact is that the main beneficiaries of the bill will be highly skilled workers from India and China. Persons with master’s degrees and doctorates in the field of science and engineering are also included here. Since they are from populous countries that send more people to work in the US who have advanced science and technology skills, such persons had been forced by the country limits into lines that were for years long and growing even more longer. Now, persons from India and China will receive their green cards more quickly. Foreign nationals and their US employers have passed labor market tests after proving that they were no qualified Americans for jobs they hold.
There is a popular outcry from the US technology companies to give more green cards for their foreign employees. They are also of the view that, by forcing such people to leave, Americans was losing out in global competition. In the coming three years, many more green cards based on employment will be set aside for persons from India and China than for others lingering backlogs, particularly Filipinos and South Koreans. As there will be no new visas, backlogs would be redistributed and not get eliminated.