Washington: On Friday, February 8, the dynamic lawmakers in the US House of Representatives and the Senate have proposed identical legislations, meaning for the reform to ameliorate the issue of legal residency in the country.
If the proposition is passed by the Congress, it will put an end to the per-country green card limit, thereby proving to be beneficial for hundreds and thousands of Indian professionals waiting to gain permanent legal residency in the US. The legislation is supported by top runners from the Silicon Valley including Google and corporate bodies such as US Chambers of Commerce.
The passing of the legislation, with the subsequent signing into law shall result in being favourable for numerous Indian professionals, who at present are required to wait over a decade to attain legal residency in the US. The H-1B visa type is most commonly attained by Indian IT professionals for the purpose of employment. It is a non-immigrant visa, allowing companies in the US to employ foreign workers having theoretical or technical expertise.
At present, the US on a yearly basis imposes a country-cap of not more than seven per cent for nationals of any one country eligible of receiving a green card. An Indian professional under the H-1B visa faces a wait of 151 years for attaining permanent residency.
In the US, possessing a Green Card is officially known as a Permanent Resident Card, which allows a person to live and work permanently in the Country. Currently, 140,000 green cards are made available every year to employment-based immigrants, including those who arrive in the US on temporary H-1B or L visas. However, despite some countries being more populous than others, the country-cap is a major set-back for the hundreds and thousands of Indian nationals, employed in the US. On account of the cap, for instance, a Chinese or Indian post-graduate may have to wait half a decade or more for a green card, much longer than a student from a less-populated country.
In the Senate, Democratic Presidential candidate, Kamala Harris alongside others, introduced on Wednesday, February 6, the Fairness of High Skilled Immigrants Act, whereby he stated, "Ours is a nation of immigrants, and our strength has always come from our diversity and our unity."
The House of Representatives is motivated to bring about reform in terms of eliminating discrimination and exploitation of high skilled immigrants and further providing family units in exchange of their devoted employment in the US.
The identical bill, Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act (HR 1044) was tabled in the US House of Representatives by Congressman Zoe Lofgren and Ken Buck, Chair and Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration and Citizenship, with co-sponsorship of a bipartisan group of 112 Congressmen.
Having a backing of 13 more Senators, the newly introduced Act increases the per-country cap for family sponsored green cards from 7 percent to 15 percent. This establishes a system of first come, first serve. Thereby increasing the efficiency of green card distribution rather than increasing its quantity per year.
Republican Mike Lee stated, "Treating people fairly and equally is part of our founding creed and the Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act reflects that belief. Immigration is often a contentious issue, but we should not delay progress in areas where there is bipartisan consensus just because we have differences in other areas."
“In combination with the per country limits, these backlogs keep nuclear families apart for decades, while preventing US employers from accessing and retaining the employees they need to stay competitive. The Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act begins to address these problems and makes the immigration system somewhat more rational. It is a small, but good step forward," said Congressman Zoe Lofgren.
The move was also welcomed by Aman Kapoor, co-founder and President of Immigration Voice.