EAGLE Act Issued In Federal Register Notice

EAGLE Act Issued In Federal Register Notice

Two Senators, Kevin Cramer (R-ND) and John Hickenlooper (D-CO), recently introduced the Equal Access to Green Cards for Legal Employment Act (EAGLE Act). This Act would allow U.S. employers to hire immigrants without considering their country of origin. As a result, they could employ immigrants based on their qualifications for the job. 

Employers in many industries would benefit from the EAGLE Act, especially those suffering from worker shortages. Employment-based immigrants in the U.S. typically work on temporary visas and wait for a green card to become available. For some workers on these temporary visas, the wait can be decades long. 

Currently, there is a 7% per-country limit on employment-based immigrant visas. However, passing the EAGLE Act would phase out the 7% limit. Removing this limit would significantly benefit immigrants from countries with the longest backlogs. The Act would also increase the 7% per-country limit on family-sponsored visas to 15%.

Senator Cramer commented on how highly skilled immigrant doctors and nurses play critical roles in the healthcare workforce. However, there is a significant shortage of such workers in rural states like North Dakota. As such, few places have specialty care available for patients.

Hiring visa holders could make a difference in this workforce. Due to this thinking, Senator Cramer claimed the per-country caps are nonsensical. He believes it is past time that the country’s immigration policies take a skill-based approach.

He claimed the “Arbitrary caps on employment-based visas are holding back our economy when so many industries are hurting for workers.” In addition, Senator Hickenlooper voiced thoughts on the bill. Senator Hickenlooper claimed, “This bill is a commonsense fix to our immigration system that will reduce visa backlogs and fill gaps in our workforce.”

According to Aman Kapoor of Immigration Voice, this bill would help the country by establishing a more merit-based system. Under the current system, employment-based green cards operate on a first-come, first-served basis. The EAGLE Act would change this practice without burdening those from countries with low wait times. Finally, he reassured U.S. citizens that foreign workers would not undercut their opportunities in U.S. companies. The Act would still require these companies to prioritize citizens.

With the introduction of the EAGLE Act, companies should seriously consider the possibility of it becoming law. Regardless of whether it passes, employers must remember to complete the employment eligibility verification (Form I-9) process for all hired workers. Unfortunately, this process has proven complicated due to the many documents foreign national workers may present.

The best way to correctly and consistently complete Form I-9 is to use an electronic I-9 management system. This system guides employers through the entire process, safely stores the forms and documentation, and provides alerts when action is needed to maintain compliance.

Streamline your hiring process with an automated employment eligibility verification and ensure compliance today with I-9Compliance.