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US Congress to vote on bill to remove country-cap on Green Card

Most Indian IT professionals are highly skilled and go to the US mainly on the H-1B work visas. They are the worst sufferers of the current immigration system which imposes a seven per cent per country quota on allotment of permanent legal residency.

With bipartisan support, the ‘Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act’ is expected to clear in the US House of Representatives.

The US House of Representatives will vote on a legislation that seeks to lift the country-cap on issuing green cards. 

Being supported by more than 310 lawmakers from both the Republican and the Democratic Party, the Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act is all set to sail through the 435-member House of Representatives.

Buoyed by the fact of 203 Democrats and 108 Republicans co-sponsoring the bill, the proponents of the legislation are using a fast-track process which requires 290 votes to pass a bill without hearing and amendments. 

Lifting the per-country cap on Green Card would mainly benefit high-tech professionals on H-1B work visas from countries like India, for whom the wait for Green Card is more than a decade. 

Some of the recent studies have said the waiting period for Indian IT professionals on H-1B visas is more than 70 years. 

According to independent Congressional Research Service (CRS), this bill increases the per-country cap on family-based immigrant visas from seven per cent of the total number of such visas available that year to 15 per cent and eliminates the seven per cent cap for employment-based immigrant visas.

Under current rules, citizens of India are getting about 25 per cent of all the professional employment green cards each year. If this bill becomes law citizens of India will get more than 90 per cent of the professional employment green cards, according to USCIS, for at least the next 10 years.

“Green cards would be unavailable to applicants from all other parts of the world (and many other occupations) for at least a decade, alleged the Centre for Immigration Studies.

It argued that a bill with such sweeping implications for US workers should not be passed without a hearing and without opportunity for members to offer amendments.

Adopting a different green card selection system that chooses the most highly educated and skilled workers would eliminate the need for a per- country cap system, and would not reward the exploitative employers who thrive on the existing system, it said.

Congressman Paul Gosar says this is another gift for big-tech companies at the expense of American workers and students.

 

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