Congress Introduces Legislation to Recapture Unused Family and Employment-Based Visas

A bill has been introduced in Congress that would allow the recapture of approximately 380,000 unused family and employment-based visas. This would help to decrease the large backlog for green cards. It would be especially helpful for immigrants that come from countries such as China and India due to their considerable backlogs.

The bill that has been introduced by the House Immigration and Citizenship Subcommittee Chair Zoe Lofgren is called the Jumpstart our Legal Immigration System Act and would recapture approximately 222,000 family-sponsored visas that were unused as well as approximately 157,000 unused employment-based visas.

Some immigrant U.S. residents that are eligible to apply for adjustment to Legal Permanent Residence (LPR) once they pay the fee cannot apply because of a lack of available visa numbers, but this bill would allow them to do so.

The bill would also permit those people waiting for a visa number to obtain work authorization, which would be helpful for many Indians. It would also keep dependent children from losing their eligibility for the LPR status by aging out.

Additionally, the bill would exempt those immigrants who have an immigrant visa petition that has been approved for a period of two years from the numerical limit on immigrant visas.

This would change their status to a green card after they pay the supplemental fee. Learn More

Lofgren believes that the immigration system is dysfunctional and needs to be reformed. She stated, “The basic framework for allocating immigrant visas dated back to the middle of the 20th century and was updated last seriously in 1990 when Congress established the worldwide numerical limits on visas and the 7 percent per-country cap that still exists today. Over time, these limitations have led to backlogs that were unimaginable in 1990.”

Lofgren stated that the Jumpstart our Legal Immigration System Act will help to decrease backlogs and also help U.S. companies by allowing them to attract high-skilled workers and be able to retain them. She also stated that the legislation will “enhance our country’s competitive advantage and our position as a global leader in innovation.”

House Judiciary Committee Chair Jerrold Nadler believes that making these immigrant visas available that were lost as a result of bureaucratic delays or COVID-19 and improving the processing of green cards is a way of investing in this country’s businesses and families.

Final Thoughts

If this legislation passes, there will be a number of additional employment-based visas available for businesses which could help some companies with their labor shortages. For those companies that do hire foreign national workers, they will need to complete Form I-9. This is not a simple process in many cases, and the best way to ensure compliance is to use an electronic I-9 management tool. This tool will guide hiring personnel through the entire process and ensure documentation is stored securely.

When it comes to your work, automation makes eligibility verification quick and seamless. Get a head start today with I-9 Compliance.