The Resolving Extended Limbo for Immigrant Employees and Families (RELIEF) Act
On March 1, 2022, the Resolving Extended Limbo for Immigrant Employees and Families (RELIEF) Act was presented in the United States Senate to provide a substantial relief to the millions of immigrants experiencing the effects of the U.S. green card back logs first-hand. In particular, the RELIEF Act proposes revisions to provisions related to family and employment-based visas.
The RELIEF Act is cosponsored by Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), as well as Senators Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Mazie Hirono (D-HA), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), and Alex Padilla (D-CA).
If passed, the RELIEF Act would increase the per-country cap on family-based immigrant visas, eliminate the current cap for employment-based nonimmigrant visas, and remove an offset that reduced the number of visas available for specific countries like China.
Moreover, the RELIEF Act would reclassify spouses and children of legal permanent residents as immediate relatives, except derivative beneficiaries of employment-based petitions from annual green card limits, and protect immigrant youth who qualify from aging out of their legal permanent resident status.
Further, as the RELIEF Act pertains to employment-based visas, the RELIEF Act also establishes a set of transition rules to be implemented from FY2022 to FY2024 by reserving percentage of EB-2 (workers with advanced degrees or exceptional ability), EB-3 (skilled and other workers), and EB-5 (investors) visas for individuals not from the two countries with the largest number of recipients of such visas. Of the unreserved visas, not more than 85% shall be allotted to immigrants from any single country.
The RELIEF Act still has to go through the legislative process before it is passed and enacted into law. However, if successfully passed, its effects on immigration and the current green card backlog issues would be extraordinary. We encourage you to continue monitoring the progress of this bill in Congress.
By: Jeanetly Garcia, Associate Attorney
Jeanetly Garcia advises employers and individuals through all phases of the non-immigrant visa process. As an attorney in the Nonimmigrant Visa Department at Reddy & Neumann P.C. she is experienced in filing nonimmigrant petitions and applications for immigrant benefits, as well as, responding to USCIS issued requests for evidence concerning an array of legal issues. Jeanetly joined the firm as a law clerk in 2018, and has since collaborated with attorneys from each of the firm’s departments on assignments ranging from drafting successful requests for evidence and appeals to filing H-1B and PERM cases.