WASHINGTON: US lawmakers took another shot at
, a cap that disadvantages immigrants from populous countries such as India and China while giving people a permanent shot at the US permanent residency.
In a bipartisan move that has backing from majority parties, and Representatives Zoe Lofgren (Democrat from California and Ken Buck (Republican from Iowa) has moved to Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act of 2019 (HR 1044 – previously known as HR 392). The legislation is backed in the Senate by
(Democrat from California and Mike Lee (Republican from Utah).
Similar to past version of the bill that was scuppered by powerful lawmakers, despite the majority support in Congress, the bill will eliminate the per-country limit on employment-based permanent residency, currently set at seven percent. Because current law limits employment-based green cards to 140,000 annually, no more than 9,800 people from any one country can get
Indian workers face 10-year wait for US green card
Only 7% of the yearly quota of employment-based and family-based green cards can go to applicants from the same country. As of April 2018, 306,601 Indian nationals, mostly IT professionals, were in line for green cards. Indians account for 78% of the 395,025 foreign nationals waiting for green cards in just one category: employment-based applications
These effective means Chinese and Indians, who form bulk of the high-skilled immigrants to the US, get only 9,800 green cards annually, resulting in a large backlog of applicants that some surveys say will take decades to clear. In contrast, aspiring immigrants from less populous countries, say Sri Lanka, Ethiopia, or Iran to take random examples, have a greater chance of securing a
because they are few in number in the US.
In fact, the proposed bill has already caused consternation among prospective immigrants from other countries which see it as tilted in favour of India, which sends the number of skilled guest workers to the US on H-1B and L visas.
“We continue to have strong concerns about the impacts of this proposal and are committed to ensure that the visa and green card process is equitable for Iranians and will advocate accordingly,” The National Iranian-American Council (NIAC) which lobbied against the bill when It was first introduced in 2018, said on Thursday, arguing that “given the combination of the Muslim Ban and the community’s reliance on single entry visas, (the bill) of the United States in Iranian nationals on a hugely negative impact.”
Organizations such as the American Hospital Association also opposed the bill, because it is the Philippines and Sri Lanka, such as the US from the large number of nurses, and India from the skilled guest workers, who dominate the technology space Because the nurses are not eligible for
, the association feels that the health care sector will be shortchanged.
The bill is backed by US tech companies such as Microsoft and IBM, for whom it will become easier to hire Indian tech workers, specially those graduating from US Universities, who have gone through the H-1B hoops leading to jump instead of India to long waits in a backed-up green card
By some accounts, about 90 percent of the green card backlog is made up of Indian immigrants who prefer to stay back in the US far Chinese professionals.
experts say if the HR 1044 becomes law, Indians would snag a majority of green cards, the same way they get a majority of H-1B visas. According to USCIS, as of April 2018, more than 300,000 Indian professionals are the green card backlog in the technology space alone.
The prospect of this tech army getting a leg up in the green card process has caused much heartburn in some sections resulting in some vicious trolling on social media. A twitter handle calling itself @ stopHR1044 complained about how the bill “which will pave the way of an Indian takeover of the employment based GC,” while asking US lawmakers to “stop the sellout”.
But legislators who are pushing for reform, including Utah Republican Mike Lee who has not been able to navigate the bill, said that the immigrants should not be penalized due to their country of origin.
“We all know that our immigration system is severely broken, and it has been broken for decades,” said Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren. “At the heart of this broken system is the outdated employment- and family-based immigration systems, which suffer under decades-long backlogs. In combination with the country limits, while preventing US employers from accessing and retaining the employees, they need to stay competitive “.