In a press conference on August 9th, President Obama said he was certain the Senate’s comprehensive immigration reform bill could pass on the floor in the House. The comprehensive immigration reform bill passed by the Senate in June would greatly increase the number of employment-based visas, benefiting citizens of one nation in particular – India.
Currently, the number of employment-based green cards is uniformly capped for each individual country to seven percent of the total 140,000 cards available. For India, with a booming population of professionals with advanced degrees and experience in high tech fields such as computer science and engineering, the seven percent cap has created a backlog that can keep Indians waiting 14 years for a green card.
Though Indians are now allowed to exceed the seven percent cap when visas in EB-1 and EB-2 go unused by other countries, the additional visas are too few and do little to ease waiting times. Indians are getting approximately 30,000 employment-based green cards each year out of the 140,000 available worldwide according to the Office of Immigration Statistics. Under the comprehensive immigration reform bill passed by the Senate in June, those applying for a green card under EB-1 would no longer count towards the total number of green cards given each year. This would allow 20,000 more green cards to be allotted for EB-2 and 20,000 more for EB-3. The seven percent cap to any single nation would also be removed, greatly alleviating the backlog of Indians waiting in a decade-long line. Further, family members of an applicant will no longer count against the quota in each category. Only a single green card, one for the primary applicant, would count against the quota. This means that the number of visas granted could increase to around 150,000 in each category.
The bill also exempts anyone who has earned a Master’s degree or higher from a United States university in the field of science, technology, engineering, or mathematics from the employment-based immigration visa caps. There could be a total of approximately 25,000 new visas available under the STEM degree exception. Finally, the new bill would recapture all unused employment-based visas from 1992 to the present. During the 90’s and early 2000’s, an estimated 400,000 green cards went unused each year because of processing delays and the seven percent cap. The recapture could effectively lead to an additional 1,000,000 visas becoming available with no per-country caps. India stands to greatly benefit from the proposed changes to employment-based immigration.
Reddy & Neumann, P.C. is an immigration law firm in Houston, Texas. For over 15 years, our firm has successfully represented corporate clients across the United States in their efforts to bring foreign workers and business professionals to the United States. Reddy & Neumann, P.C. is dedicated in its advocacy and community involvement efforts towards achieving effective comprehensive immigration policy reform. From filing, through approval, and on to appeal, we do everything possible to ensure that your company can bring the best and brightest in the world to the United States.