A New Bill Would Change the Way in Which Employment-Based Green Cards Are Issued

A new bill that will make it easier for H-1B workers to obtain green cards has been approved by the U.S. House Judiciary Committee. This bill will be especially helpful for workers from India. The bill is called the Equal Access to Green Cards for Legal Employment (Eagle) Act.

It will have an effect on how employers use the H-1B work visa program. Learn More

If this bill passes, employers will be required to give notice to the public of any new H-1B positions on the Department of Labor website. This notice will include information about the wage or salary ranges, a description of the job, the job location, as well as any benefits.

The bill would also limit H-1B employment to no more than half of the workforce of an employer. This is intended to affect outsourcing firms, which are the biggest users of these visas. Additionally, the bill will not increase the number of employment-based green cards that will be issued each year but instead rearrange the way they are issued.

Currently, visa rules limit a country to a maximum of 7% of the employment-based green card visas that are available. Typically, the people obtaining green cards first get temporary H-1B work visas. Many of these people are from India and sometimes wait decades for a green card due to the per-country cap. If the bill passes and the per-country cap no longer applies, the green cards will be given out on the basis of who applies first.

A bill to end the per-country cap passed the House of Representatives with bipartisan support in 2019 but failed to advance to the senate. However, it may not have the bipartisan support needed this time.

One of the amendments to the bill which has faced significant controversy is one that would prevent individuals with ties to either the Chinese Communist or its military from receiving a green card. According to U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan, “Given the CCP’s theft of U.S. intellectual property and sensitive technologies, we’re all concerned that this bill will result in adverse consequences to U.S. national security.”

However, U.S. Rep. Zoe Lofgren believes the amendment is unnecessary because immigration law already excludes Communist party members. Although, the current law does make an exception for teens that became party members involuntarily.

Although there is disagreement on this issue, it does seem possible an agreement will be worked out. If the bill does pass, it will help many people who have been waiting years to obtain a green card.

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