Good days seem ahead for Indian techies in America! A new bill seeking to increase the allotment of Green Cards to foreign nationals employed on various US work visas has been introduced in the US House of Representatives. Named Securing America’s Future Act, the bill is reportedly supported by President Donald Trump.
The Securing America’s Future Act legislation has proposed a hefty 45% increase in the annual allotment of Green Cards from 120,000 to 175,000. Merit-based immigration reforms have also been emphasized in the bill. If approved by the US Senate, it will be a welcome relief for lakhs of Indian techies waiting for lawful permanent residency in the United States.
If experts are to be believed, nearly 5.5 million Green Card applications were pending by the end of 2012. The US government issued 990,553 Green Cards to foreign nationals including Indians (6.9%) in 2013, according to the Department of Homeland Security. Currently, about 5, 50,000 Indian professionals holding H1B visa are in the queue for Green Cards in America.
Indian holders of H1B visas keep applying for extension or renewal of their visas until they are granted legal permanent residency in the United States. Since it takes decades to get Green Cards due to several reasons, the Securing America’s Future Act bill is being lauded as a good move. The proposed increase in the allotment of Green Cards per annum is expected to cut their wait period considerably.
At the same time, Securing America’s Future Act seeks to eliminate chain migration that entails Green Card programs for relatives and extended family members. Only spouses and minor children on H4 visas will be exempted from the restriction. It would help reduce immigration inflow from 1 million to 260,00 in a fiscal year by eliminating the diversity visa program.
Rather, Securing America’s Future Act will strengthen a merit-based immigration system to ease the passage for the best and brightest brains from India, China and other countries into the United States. Furthermore, a renewable temporary visa for parents of US citizens of foreign descent has been in the bill. It also seeks to create a feasible agricultural guest worker program for the sake of US economy.
In response to the Securing America’s Future Act, the White House stated that the legislation would accomplish the President’s core priorities for Americans. But, how the existing logjam of Green Card applications would be cleared is still in the dark. There is yet no clue about whether compulsory in-person interview of Green Card applicants will be withdrawn to break the deadlock.