A Proposed Solution to the Green Card Backlog
A new bill has just been introduced in both houses of the United States Congress that would make a dramatic change to the current immigration system by scrapping the per-country limit on green cards. Bill HR 1044, also known as the Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act, proposes that green cards be issued by category and date, as opposed to the current system which allows a limited number of green cards per country.
Those who drafted the bill believe that the change will help to reduce the backlog in countries like China and India where applicants wait years for their approved applications to amount to U.S. employment. Chinese applicants currently have a backlog of 67,031 approved employment-based petitions, while Indian applicants have 306,601. By eliminating the per-country limit, the new bill will provide green cards to applicants on a first come, first serve basis, which will result in applicants from countries with the most applicants, like China and India, dominating the market. This change to the immigration system may be on the horizon because the bill seems to have a good chance of passing. HR 1044 has bipartisan support in Congress, as well as the support of tech giants like Google, Microsoft and IBM.
HR 1044 is not without its imperfections, however. Opponents of the bill have raised a concern that the bill would favor more populous countries, and certain types of workers, over others. For instance, high-skilled tech workers would benefit at the expense of workers in certain fields such as healthcare. Some also argue that the bill would not actually solve the green card backlog problem but would simply shift the backlog from more populous countries to less populated ones.
What’s more, HR 1044 could do some serious damage to the EB-5 program, which provides an avenue to a green card for an applicant who invests at least $500,000 to finance a business in the United States that will employ at least 10 workers. In countries with smaller populations, HR 1044 would increase the wait for a green card to over 10 years due to the current backlog in more populated countries, and few investors will be willing to invest one half of a million dollars in the United States if they must wait more than a decade for a green card. Individuals with these concerns about HR 1044 suggest that a better solution may be for Congress to simply increase the number of green cards that are allowed per country. This would help to eliminate the backlog while not allowing less populous countries to be pushed to the back of the line behind more populated ones.
While some say HR1044 is a perfect solution to a backlog problem, the bill is not without its drawbacks. Good or bad, there is no guarantee that the bill will pass, and so for now, we deal with the complications of the present system. If you are seeking a green card in the United States and are facing complications, or if you have your own concerns, please contact Berardi Immigration Law to set up a consultation with one of our attorneys today!