The immigration bill proposes to eliminate the per-country cap for employment-based green cards
In a major move that will benefit hundreds and thousands of Indian IT professionals in America, the Biden administration has introduced an ambitious immigration bill in Congress which among other things proposes to eliminate the per-country cap for employment-based green cards.
The US Citizenship Act of 2021 proposes a pathway to citizenship to 11 million undocumented workers, elimination of per country quota for employment-based green cards and work authorisation for dependents of H-1B foreign workers.
The bicameral immigration bill, if passed by both the chambers of the Congress – House of Representatives and the Senate – and signed into law by President Joe Biden, would bring citizenship to millions of foreign nationals, including undocumented workers and those who came to the country legally.
The legislation would also benefit hundreds and thousands of Indian IT professionals and their families.
Those waiting for a Green Card for more than 10 years, would get the legal permanent residency immediately as they would be exempted from the visa cap.
Indian IT professionals, waiting for more than a decade now, and whose number runs into thousands, are likely to be the biggest beneficiary of this provision of the bill.
Authors of the bill – Senator Bob Menendez and Congresswoman Linda Sanchez – told reporters that the US Citizenship Act of 2021 establishes a moral and economic imperative and a vision of immigration reform that is expansive and inclusive.
It grows the economy by making changes to the employment-based immigration system, eliminating per-country caps, making it easier for STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) advanced degree holders from US universities to stay in the US and improving access to green cards for workers in lower-wage industries.
It would also give dependents of H-1B holders work authorisation, and prevent children of H-1B holders from “ageing out” of the system.
“I am the daughter of immigrant parents from Mexico. I have dedicated my career to building an immigration system that lets people live without fear, and a system that gives immigrants – like my parents – who sought a better life and contribute to our nation a fair opportunity to thrive,” Sanchez said.
“Immigrants contribute greatly to our country and society. They own businesses, pay taxes and teach our children. They are our coworkers, neighbours and friends,” said Menendez.
“We have a historic opportunity to finally enact bold immigration reform that leaves no one behind, addresses root causes of migration and safeguards our country’s national security. We have a moral and economic imperative to get this done once and for all,” he said.
The ruling Democrats have a majority in both the House and Senate. However, in the upper chamber, they need the support of 10 Republicans to get the legislation through the Congress before it can be signed into law.
The Democratic leadership and the White House hope that they will get the necessary support in the interest of millions of non-citizens living in the country.
Supported by the White House, the bill creates an earned roadmap to citizenship for all 11 million undocumented immigrants, with an expedited three-year path to citizenship, and giving all other undocumented immigrants who pass background checks and pay taxes with an eight-year path to citizenship without fear of deportation.
It reforms the family-based immigration system to keep families together by recapturing visas from previous years to clear backlogs, including spouses and children of green card holders as immediate family members.