In a move that would benefit highly skilled workers from countries like India and China seeking to stay in the US, the House of Representatives has voted to end per-country caps on employment based green cards.
The bill (HR 3012) passed by the the House of Representatives by both Democrat and Republicans, completely eliminates the per-country caps for employment-based visas and raises the per-country cap from seven per cent to 15 per cent for family-based visas.
The current Immigration and Nationality Act generally provides that the total number of employment-based immigrant visas made available to natives of any single foreign country in a year cannot exceed seven per cent of the total number of such visas made available in that year. This would make visas immediately available to countries with a high number of skilled immigrant applicants such as China and India thereby effectively removing the decade-long visa back-log for theseworkers. This bill will also increase the number of family based visas granted each year thereby assisting countries with a high number of family based immigrant applicants such as Mexico and Philippines.
Because the bill had bipartisan support and was passed with a vote of 389 to 15, it is likely to pass the Senate as well. If it passes the Senate, it will take three years before this bill is phased in and country-caps are completely eliminated for employment-based green cards.