There are more than a million people in the United States waiting for an employment-based green card. These individuals have approved immigrant petitions, and many of them have been living, working and paying taxes in the United States for many years on temporary visas. They face such long wait times in part because the immigration laws currently in place impose a 7% per-country cap on employment-based green cards.
On Nov. 14, a bipartisan bill was introduced in the U.S. Senate that would change those rules.
China and India account for more than 40% of the world’s population and an even higher percentage of the world’s skilled workers. The current laws dealing with employment visas and employment-based green cards do not adjust per-country caps based on population, which means immigrants from countries like those two face waits for visas or green cards that can last for years.
The Equal Access to Green Cards for Legal Employment Act
The The Equal Access to Green Cards for Legal Employment Act would phase out the 7% per-country annual cap on employment-based green cards. If the bill is passed and signed into law, employment-based green cards will be issued on a first-come, first-served basis, without consideration of an applicant’s birthplace. While the same total number of employment-based green cards would still be available, more green cards would be available to applicants from countries like China and India, significantly reducing wait times for applicants.
Good for the economy
The availability of and wait time for green cards per country is, at present, a significant consideration for those who wish to apply for an employment-based green card. As the United States contemplates changing the system so significantly, it is more important than ever to understand your options and long-term strategy toward obtaining permanent status. An experienced immigration lawyer can assess your options under the current system and explain how they may change if this legislation is passed.