Visa Crunch

Fairness for High-Skilled immigrants act passed in the US Senate. Here is what it means for Indians.

The aforementioned bill brings good news in these tough times for Indians, especially Indian professionals, who are yet waiting for their professional visas to be approved. The bill aims to introduce legislation which increases the per-country cap from 7% to 15% of the total number of immigrant visas available.

This can prove to be especially helpful for Indian IT professionals currently in the United States who have entered using the H1-B route and are yet awaiting their Green Card or permanent residency. There is currently a huge backlog of such individuals.

Senator Mike Lee from Utah addressing the Senate said that an Indian national could expect a waiting period of over 195 years for obtaining a permanent residency of Green Card in the United States. Currently, the number of backlogs has reached the one million mark, and the greatest proportion of these backlogged individuals are of Indian nationality.

The act, as its name suggests, provides equal opportunity to high-skilled immigrants form all countries to attain a permanent residency or green card, purely based on their merit.

Senator Lee also said that he has “always been struck by the fact that the government has conditioned green cards and a pathway to citizenship based solely on the applicant’s country of origin… there may have been some legitimate reason many decades ago in fact for this, but this has led to a system that largely discriminates against green card applicants from one country”.

He also further added, “I mean literally one country. This is inconsistent with our founding principles. this is not how we try to do things as Americans, and it’s not right. Today, if you’re a work-based immigrant from India entering into the EB- green card application process, you will wait almost 200 years before your application is even considered solely because of where you were born.”

In his address, he also addressed some glaring issues such as “Almost 200 years on a waiting list. Some people don’t even live that long. Our country isn’t much older than that, and that’s the amount of time they would have to wait based solely on the basis of the country in which they were born.”

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