Visa Crunch

The biggest changes in the latest US Immigration Bill and its impacts

The U.S. immigration bill was introduced in Congress on Thursday. It aims to eliminate the backlog of visas for work-based green cards and allow dependents to work in the US, benefiting many Indians. 

The bill was introduced in the Senate and Senator Senator Bob Menendez and Attorney Linda Sanchez respectively. 

This was the most anticipated bill and was signed by Joe Biden on the day he was sworn in as the 46th President of the United States on January 20, 2021. The bill contains provisions that could help thousands of US Indians and many more wait to receive their green cards. 

The immigration bill has made the maximum waiting period for the green card to be 10 years. There is also a plan to increase the national value of green cards from 7 percent to 20 percent. 

This could benefit thousands of Indians who have been waiting to receive their green card for more than a decade. There are about 8 lakh Indians in the line of green cards based on work. 

The bill also allows spouses and children of H-1B visa holders to work in the US and makes provision for the automatic extension of a work permit if processing takes more than one year. It also ensures automatic extensions for students in the Optional Practical Training (OPT) program if their processing time is greater than one year. OPT is an interim work program available for foreign students who are allowed to work in the US for up to three years. 

This provision is also a relief for the Indians, who are responsible for a significant majority in the US. Of the more than 67,000 H-4 visas issued by the FY20, approximately 57,000 were Indian. There are about 1.93 lakh, students in India, US. 

The US issued about 85,000 H-1B visas per year. Most of these visas go to Indian firms and IT services. 

To promote other US talents, executives have now released those with Doctoral degrees (PhDs) from petitions. They are few in number compared to master’s degree students, who can be released from the cap. 

A pilot program for the economic development of immigrants in the region will be launched which will allow about 10,000 immigrants if the law is implemented. The employment of these workers is essential to economic development strategies in the cities or districts where they will live or work. 

However, it is not clear who will be eligible or how the management intends to use this. The duration of the program has reached 5 years. 

The United States has received enough complaints to access the cap capitally 65,000 H-1B visas for the 2021 financial year. Candidates for the most demanding work visa among foreign workers will be determined by a computerized lottery. The H-1B visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows the UK to hire foreign workers for special jobs. Technology companies rely on it to employ tens of thousands of workers each year from countries such as India and China. 

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