On July 10, 2018, the House of Representatives passed the Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act of 2019 by a vote of 365 to 65. This bill would change the way employment-based (EB) immigrant visas are allocated by eliminating country-specific quotas. The bill would also raise the per-country quota on family-based green cards. If signed into law, H.R. 1044 would equalize the waiting periods for EB permanent residence and spur significant advancement in EB green card availability for India and China, but would increase waiting periods for some other countries.
Instead of separate queues for each country in each EB green card category, the bill would create a single queue per category. If the bill were signed into law, a large number of foreign employees born in India or China would become eligible to file applications for permanent residence. At the same time, those born in other countries would face the possibility of longer backlogs, though a three-year phase-in period would minimize the negative impact on natives of these countries. The bill would raise the per-country quota for family-based immigrant visas to fifteen percent, from seven percent.
The Senate version of he Bill, S. 386 currently has 34 Cosponsors and includes additional provisions that would increase the Department of Labor’s oversight and enforcement authority over the H-1B category and increase H-1B employer obligations.
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