The United States Lawmakers have passed a Bill objected at lifting the existing 7 percent country-cap on the issue of Green Cards, a development that would facilitate thousands of highly-skilled IT professionals from India.

A Green Card facilitates a person to live and work permanently in the United States of America.

The Bill was passed by the US House of Representative, on being signed into law, would reduce the speculated wait for talent professionals from nations like India asking for permanent residency and work permits in the USA. 

Titled 2019 Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act or HR 1044, this Bill was passed by 435-members House by a clear majority of 365-65 votes. 

According to the present system, out of the total number of family-based immigrant visas to be offered by the United States in a particular year, countrymen can be offered a maximum of 7 percent of such visas. It seeks to increase the 7 percent per-country limit to 15 percent.  

Similarly, it seeks to eliminate the 7 percent per-country cap on employment-based immigrant visas. Besides, it eliminates an offset that reduced the number of visas for individuals from China.

The latest Bill further established transition rules for employment-based visas from the fiscal year 2020-22 by reserving a percentage of EB-2 (workers with advanced degrees or exceptional ability), EB-3 (skilled and other workers) and EB-5 (investors) visas for individuals from other than two nations, which seeks the largest number of such visas.

According to another provision of the latest Bill, not over 85 percent of unreserved visas would be allotted to immigrants from any one nation. 

Before it can be signed as Law by the US President Donald Trump, the Bill needs to be passed by the Senate, wherein the Republicans can enjoy a majority. 

A similar bill sponsored by Senators Mike Lee and Kamala Harris is likely to be taken up at the earliest. Currently, Senate Bill S386 has 34 cosponsors.

While speaking on the floor of the House, Congressman John Curtis said that the Bill will create a first-come, first-served system offering certainty to families, workers, and enabling the United States companies to prosper and compete in a global economy as they hire the brightest people to offer services, create products, and jobs – regardless of where they were born.

Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren claims that if President Trump “is serious about merit-based legal immigration, he should help usher this bill into law.”

The passage of the latest Bill was addressed by Indian professionals across the United States, mainly those from Silicon Valley in California, the Greater Washington DC area,  Seattle area in Washington, the tri-state area of New York, Connecticut, and New Jersey.

However, the Department of Homeland has said that it doesn’t support the Bill. 

Joseph S Joh, the Assistant Director and Senior Advisor in the Office of Legislative Affairs, Department of Homeland Security, said that “this bill would do nothing to move the current employment-sponsored system toward a more merit-based system.”

Top American IT firms have greeted the passage for the Bill urged the Senate to pass it soon.

Microsoft President Brad Smith said, “Today the US House passed the legislation to ensure people from all countries are treated alike in the Green Card process. This promotes a fair high-skilled immigration system that’s good for the business and our economy.”

Hails the passage of FHSI Act, the FWD. United States President Todd Schulte said that “this bill will help ensure those seeking permanent residency don’t have to wait for extraordinarily long periods, — projected at 50 years or more for people from countries like India and China – simply because of their country of origin.”

The  FWD. United States is basically an advocacy organization that represents top Silicon Valley companies, including Google, Facebook, DropBox, and Microsoft. 

“Eliminating ‘per-country’ caps for employment-based Green Cards and raising caps for family-based green cards will make the system fairer for immigrant families and strengthen the United States ability to recruit and retain top global talent by establishing a fair and predictable path to permanent legal status,” he said.

The passage of the Bill was also greeted by the Hindu American Foundation.

Jay Kansara of the Hindu American Foundation said that “it is now up to the Senate to ensure that fairness is delivered to high-skilled immigrants who have been stuck in a decades-long backlog waiting for their chance to become full-fledged contributors to the American economy. The time to act is now.”

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