Latest Update on the passing of HR 1044 Bill: With the US House of Representatives having passed the H.R. 1044 bill or the Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act to eliminate the Green Card backlog, a new momentum is required to push the legislation further through the White House so that it becomes a law. A petition on the White House website titled, “Pass H.R.1044/S.386 – Fairness for High Skilled Immigrants Act”, has been launched seeking minimum 100,000 signatures to expedite the process of getting the bill signed by President Donald Trump. Started on July 15, the petition has garnered nearly 23,000 signatures.
US House Passes Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act; Critics Call it Incentive to Low-wage Indians (published on July 10, 2019)
While dark rain clouds are hovering over the flash flood-hit Washington DC Metro Area, the clouds of the green card backlog seem to be dispersing and disappearing for a little more than 6 lakh Indians and other nationals waiting endlessly for lawful permanent residency in the United States.
The Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act, which was brought on the table in November 2018, is back in the corridors of the US Congress for reconsideration. Aimed at removing the country-wise cap on allocation of Green Card for legal permanent residency in the US, the Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act has stirred up a raging commotion between immigration lawyers and the Trump supporters.
However, the US House of Representatives passed the legislation “Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act” this week, with support of 364 lawmakers from both the Republican Party and the Democratic Party among the total 435 members in the House of Representatives, reducing drastically the decades-long wait time for the Green Card approval.
Favoring a large-scale influx of high-skilled Indian professionals into the US workforce and economy, the legislation is supposed to be gliding through the US Congress without hearing and amendments, as a majority of the lawmakers from the US House of Representative has supported the possible lifting of the country-wise limit on issuance of Green Card.
Known as HR 1044, the Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act will facilitate allocation of over 90% of employment-based Green Card to Indian techies on H1B visa and other Indian professionals, if it gets 290 votes to become a law. Currently, about 25% of all Green Cards are issued to Indian nationals each year, on the basis of professional employment in the USA.
The move to lift the per-country cap on the number of Green Cards allotted to Indians in USA will surely benefit hundreds of thousands of Indian techies in the Silicon Valley where American IT conglomerates and small Indian IT services companies thrive on Indian talent. Furthermore, it will end the way the brokers have exploited the country-wise cap to mint money from professionals from specific countries.
According to the Congressional Research Service (CRS), the Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act (HR 1044) also seeks to increase the per-country cap on allocation of family-based Green Cards from 7 percent to 15 percent. On the reverse, the Trump administration is rife with the slogan, ‘Replace green cards with Build America Visa‘.
The critics and the proponents of the legislation are at loggerheads. While Senator Kamala Harris whose political territory includes the Silicon Valley has thumbed up the legislation, the critics include Congressman Paul Gosar despise it as a gift to the American tech giants and their low-wage Indian employees at the expense of American graduates and workers.
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The Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act is described as a giveaway incentive to half-a-million Indian workers on H1B visa on one hand; and Nancy Pelosi, the speaker of the US House of Representatives, is requested not to pass the bill without a hearing on the other hand.
The Center for Immigration Studies said that if the per-country cap is lifted for low-cost Indian professionals on contract, workers from other countries smaller than India, who are less represented in the US workforce, will be at a loss for employment-based legal permanent residency in the USA for at least a decade.
Recently, the External Affairs Ministry of India has conveyed its expectation to the US government for a non-discriminatory H1B visa policy for Indian professionals.
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