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US says merit-based immigration will end green card backlog; Indians may benefit 

Many Indian-Americans are highly skilled and come to the US mainly on H-1B work visas. They suffer due to the current immigration system that imposes a seven per cent per country quota on allotment of green cards.

world Updated: Feb 09, 2018 23:12 IST
Yashwant Raj, Hindustan Times, Washington
Donald Trump,US immigration,US green card
President Donald Trump speaks to workers in Wisconsin. (AFP File Photo)

The White House reiterated its commitment to an immigration plan that seeks to ensure people coming legally to the United States are “the best and the brightest, regardless of nationality, creed, religion, or anything else in between”.

Waves of Indian H-1B visa holders in line for their Green Card (permanent residency) have descended upon the capital in recent days to lobby the administration and Congress to end the backlog that threatens to keep them waiting up to 70 years, according to one estimate.

“He (the president) wants to see us move from a process that currently exists in law of extended-family chain migration toward merit-based immigration reforms,” deputy press secretary Raj Shah told reporters on Thursday when asked about the H-1B visa holders and their plight.

The White House had earlier said in a factsheet that Green Cards saved from ending a diversity visa lottery will be used to clear the backlog for high-skilled workers, an estimated 1.5 million of whom are from India. The factsheet was released after President Donald Trump’s State of the Union speech in January in which he had proposed a four-pillar immigration plan.

Shah did not refer to that move contained in the factsheet but said,“We want to ensure that people coming into the country are the best and the brightest, regardless of nationality, creed, religion, or anything else in between. We want to look at educational backgrounds, ability to contribute to the workforce in a way that helps American workers.”

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The president’s four-pillar plan consists of citizenship for undocumented immigrants brought as children; border security with a wall along the border with Mexico; replacing family-based immigration system by one based on merit; and discontinuing the visa lottery,

The United States grants 50,000 visas in this category, which, it plans to use once the programme is stopped, to clear the backlog for high-skilled workers.

First Published: Feb 09, 2018 16:30 IST