iNDICA NEWS BUREAU-
The employment-based Green Card backlog in the US, which haunts a huge number of Indians, could soon see a change that will make the millions who are have been waiting for years a big respite.
A new House bill is being proposed that can make the applicants a lawful permanent residency in America by paying a supplemental fee.
According to the US House of Representatives Judiciary Committee, an employment-based immigrant applicant with a “priority date that is more than 2 years before” can adjust to permanent residence without numerical limits by paying a “supplemental fee of USD 5,000.”
The fee is USD 50,000 for the EB-5 category (immigrant investors). The provisions expire in 2031, the Forbes magazine reported.
For a family-based immigrant who is sponsored by a US citizen and with a “priority date that is more than 2 years before”, the fee for getting a Green Card would be USD 2,500.
The supplement fee would be USD 1,500 if an applicant’s priority date is not within two years but they are required to be present in the country, according to the committee print. This fee would be in addition to any administrative processing fee paid by the applicant.
However, the bill does not contain permanent structural changes to the legal immigration system, including eliminating country caps for green cards or increasing the annual quotas of H-1B visas.
Before becoming law, the provisions would have to pass the Judiciary Committee, the House of Representatives and the Senate and be signed by the president, the report said.
Reacting to the bill, David J Bier, Immigration policy analyst at Cato Institute, said, “employment-based applicants can adjust if they have waited 2 years from their priority date… this is almost like abolishing the EB caps for adjustment applicants who can pay $5K. Awesome!”
“Basically, this bill will help a few legal immigrants abroad indirectly, but the main purpose is integration of existing immigrants. That’s a noble cause, but the immigration/migration part of immigration reform is just left out. No new pathways for workers, same system,” he tweeted.
US Congressmen, including Indian-American Raja Krishnamoorthi had last month urged their Congressional colleagues to support their move to employment-based Green Card backlog as part of budget reconciliation.
A group of 40 US lawmakers, led by Krishnamoorthi, had written to Speaker of House Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, saying the budget reconciliation package provides relief to these individuals stuck in the employment-based Green Card backlog, thereby strengthening the economy in the process.
They argued that under current law, the American economy is unable to access the full international talent pool of high-skilled workers already present and working in the United States today — indeed, the very scientists, inventors, health care workers, entrepreneurs, and other professionals that give the US its edge over its global competitors today.
“This is because there is effectively a Green Card ban on high-skilled immigrants from India, China, and other countries with large populations of workers eager to remain in America and power forward our economy and social safety net programs for generations to come,” they said.
Most workers in the employment-based Green Card backlog are already in the United States on temporary nonimmigrant visas, such as the H-1B visa for workers in specialty occupations, that are renewable but greatly restrict beneficiaries from reaching their full potential.
Right now, no more than seven percent of employment-based green cards are available to individuals from a single country, which has created a decades-long backlog for would-be immigrants from India and China.
“Indian nationals face a particularly daunting backlog of 80 years, and an anticipated 200,000 will die before achieving lawful permanent resident status,” the lawmakers said.