House bill

House Bill maintains immigration measures for highly skilled immigrants

Employed immigrants could be granted permanent residence years, if not decades, earlier under the legislative provisions included in a reconciliation bill slated for a vote in the House. In September, the House Judiciary Committee included the immigration measures for the bill in a party line vote. While many lawmakers have focused solely on how to provide relief to those without legal status, Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrod Nadler (D-NY) and Immigration and Citizenship Subcommittee Chairman Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), also drafted language, now included in the bill, to help people who have applied for legal immigration.

If the measure becomes law, it would be the most important piece of legislation for highly skilled immigrants since Congress passed the 1990 Immigration Act and raised the annual number limit for employment-based green cards to 140. 000. The House Reconciliation Bill would be a significant boon to the competitiveness of the US economy by enabling US employers to attract and retain many of the world’s most skilled scientists and engineers.

Article 60003 of the section of the Reconciliation Bill adopted by the Judicial Commission states: “The Secretary of State shall exempt a foreigner (as well as the spouse and children of such foreigner) from the numerical limitations described in [the relevant employment-based immigration section of the Immigration and Nationality Act] and the Secretary of Homeland Security may adjust the status of such alien (and the alien’s spouse and children) to that of lawful permanent resident if such alien submits or has submitted a request for adjustment of status and. . . is the beneficiary of an approved petition. . . this has a priority date that is more than 2 years prior to the date on which the foreigner requests an exemption from the numerical limitations; and pays an additional fee of $ 5,000. ” (I underline.)

“The provisions of the House bill would allow late employees to apply for an adjustment of status regardless of the availability of a priority date,” immigration lawyer Cyrus Mehta said during a interview. “From an employer’s perspective, they may not need to rely as much on the uncertainty of the H-1B visa lottery as they do now. An F-1 on Optional Practical Training (OPT) may be sponsored for permanent residency through labor certification during the F-1 OPT period, although an eligible candidate for the OPT F-1 STEM have more time for the work certification to be processed and approved. . “

“Once the work certification is approved, the employee will be able to file an I-485 adjustment of status request at the same time as the I-140 petition and obtain a work authorization during its duration,” Mehta notes. This would allow an employee to remain in the United States and be eligible for continued employment with the employer.

“Employers can help an employee with an approved petition by paying the $ 5,000 on their behalf so that they can obtain permanent residence faster,” Mehta said. “An employer that facilitates permanent residence will be more attractive to non-national employees. An individual can pay the $ 5,000, under both the current law and the bill, ”according to Mehta.

Speaking at a House Immigration and Citizenship Subcommittee hearing in July 2021, Representative Lofgren said: “If we are to be competitive in an increasingly global and technology-driven market, we need to do what we have failed to do over the past 30 years, and that is reforming the immigration system to meet the changing needs of our country. (I testified at the hearing in July.)

The United States has lost talent because it is much easier to work after graduation and gain permanent residence in Canada and other countries compared to America. Thus, between 2016 and 2018, the number of Indian students in Canadian universities rose from 76,075 to more than 172,000, according to the Canadian Bureau for International Education, and the number of Indians who became permanent residents in Canada has increased. more than doubled. At the same time, at US universities, Indian engineering and computer science graduate students fell 25% between the 2016-17 and 2018-19 academic years.

The bill would also allow family immigrants to the United States to obtain permanent residence outside the numerical limits if their priority date is “more than 2 years before” and the individual pays an additional fee of $ 2,500. . The fees are $ 50,000 for category EB-5 (immigrant investors). The provisions for paying additional fees to receive a green card outside the numerical limits expire on September 30, 2031. Family sponsored immigrants and individuals in the EB-5 category are less likely to be in the United States and to accommodate permanent residency as professionals in the first three categories of employment-based immigrant preference, many of whom work with H-1B status.

The reconciliation bill would also recover immigrant visas in family and employment-based categories that were not used between fiscal year 1992 and fiscal year 2021. Earlier analysis suggested that a such a provision could add more than 220,000 employment-based green cards to the immigrant visa pool. Considering the number of unused employment-based immigrant visas in fiscal year 2021, the number is now probably over 300,000. (My colleague David Bier notes that there is an ambiguity in the text of the reconciliation bill on reclaimed green cards.)

The bill also protects green cards for Diversity visa holders who were unable to enter the United States due to the Trump administration’s “ban on Muslims” or related policies and delays. Covid.

As with the reconciliation bill itself, the immigration provisions remain in motion. The senatorial parliamentarian ruled that two measures aimed at granting permanent status and residence to people without permanent legal status did not meet the rules of budgetary reconciliation. Senate Democrats should attempt a “Diet C“Alternative, which would include granting parole to people without legal status, like the Dreamers, who entered the United States before January 1, 2011. residence earlier by paying a fee and recovering unused green cards.”

We do not yet know whether the measure allowing job-based immigration applicants to obtain permanent residence years earlier by paying $ 5,000 will become law. However, its inclusion in the reconciliation bill about to be voted on in the House means that it has come close to reality.