US Senate passes bill to raise country cap on Green Cards, Indians may benefit

The Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act was passed on Wednesday by unanimous consent. The House of Representatives had passed its own version of the legislation in 2019.
By HT Correspondent | Hindustan Times, Washington
UPDATED ON DEC 03, 2020 11:25 PM IST
The two bills will now go through a reconciliation process to iron out the differences in the House and Senate versions, and a combined legislation must pass both chambers again before being sent to the White House for the president’s signature and enactment.(AP file)

The US Senate on Wednesday passed a legislation raising country limits on the annual grant of Green Cards — permanent residencies — that, when enacted, will stand to benefit hundreds of thousands of Indian-origin applicants who currently face a statistical possibility of waiting for decades for their turn.

The Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act was passed on Wednesday by unanimous consent. The House of Representatives had passed its own version of the legislation in 2019.

The two bills will now go through a reconciliation process to iron out the differences in the House and Senate versions, and a combined legislation must pass both chambers again before being sent to the White House for the president’s signature and enactment.

“Ending nationality discrimination and levelling the playing field for high-skilled applicants, our legislation will keep families together while helping American companies retain top talent. I urge my colleagues and the President to take the final steps necessary to make these reforms a reality,” said Raja Krishnamoorthi, the Indian American lawmaker who co-sponsored by the House bill.

The US grants some 1 million Green Cards a year. But a country cap limits their numbers to 7% of the total for applicants from every specific nation. The worst affected by this country limit are Indian applicants, with more than 300,000 primary applicants in the backlog.

“While not everything that we wanted, it will still clear the existing backlog a lot sooner than the present miserable situation,” Immigration Voice, a group pushing for the removal of the country-limit said to its members in a message.

It added: “After working on this bill for over a decade. you can take it from us that the bill is a great and hard-fought first-step towards a fairer more equitable immigration system.”

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