Capitol Correspondence - 07.15.19

House Passes Bill Removing Immigration Country Caps

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We are sharing this article by SHRM because it shows the political climate surrounding employment visas. ANCOR is currently discussing its own employment visa proposal with Congressional offices – our proposal focuses on the Direct Support Professional workforce.

As written by SHRM:

“The U.S. House of Representatives voted July 10 to eliminate limits on the percentage of employment-based green cards awarded to immigrants from any one country.

The legislation would expedite the flow of high-skilled workers from countries such as India and China who face inordinately long waits for employment-based green cards and would clear the wait list in less than a decade, resulting in happier workers and reduced turnover, especially in the tech industry. But the bill would also lengthen wait times for immigrant workers from other countries.

Currently each country is allotted up to 7 percent of the 140,000 employment-based green cards issued per year. This limitation was imposed to prevent one country or a handful of countries from dominating the flow of employment-based immigration to the United States.

But ‘per-country limits and low annual limits—about half of which go to dependents—combine to create long wait times for immigrants, with waits for Indians the longest,’ said Stuart Anderson, executive director of the National Foundation for American Policy, a public-policy research organization based in Arlington, Va.

Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., the bill’s sponsor, said that the combination of long backlogs and per-country limits on green cards prevents U.S. employers from accessing and retaining the employees they need to stay competitive.

The changes would apply beginning with fiscal year (FY) 2020, which starts Oct. 1, and would apply to:

EB-2 visas, for workers with advanced degrees or exceptional ability.

EB-3 visas, for skilled workers and professionals.


The companion measure in the Senate was blocked last month by Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., who sought a special exception to provide green cards to nurses, one occupation particularly disadvantaged by the change, because they’re not eligible for H-1B visas. Senators from both parties have since placed holds on the bill, preventing it from advancing.

The Trump administration has also been cold to the measure, with officials in the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Legislative Affairs signaling that the White House does not support it.”