The House has decided to stop considering a bill that would have allowed non-citizens with employment-based visas to obtain permanent resident cards (green cards) quickly. This decision comes due to strong opposition.
Approximately 140,000 individual green cards become available every year. In addition, non-citizens looking to join their immediate family members who legally reside in the United States may receive family green cards. However, only seven percent of the total number of green cards issued annually can go to any one country.
The House ceased considering the bill “Equal Access to Green Cards for Legal Employment Act of 2022,” otherwise known as the “Eagle Act of 2022.” It would have eliminated the per-nation individual green card caps. It would have also increased the family green card cap to fifteen percent from its current seven.
However, many people opposed the Eagle Act. They believed it would unfairly benefit non-citizens from India and China. As it stands, both countries hold more employment-based visas than the others.
Some opponents added that other industries facing labor shortages would face greater difficulty obtaining workers because most visa holders from China and India work in high-tech.
Many Republicans have a problem with the Eagle Act. They believe immigration law and public policy should concentrate on the issues at the U.S. southern border, not reworking the green card system.
In addition, others oppose the Act due to national security concerns. These opponents state that the legislation would allow China significant opportunities to access highly sensitive data and intelligence.
More still, the opposition continued to criticize the bill. One such criticism pointed to the bill’s removal of the per-country cap, and how it did not increase the total number of green cards available. As a result, the critics emphasize how the bill would provide many talented workers to the high-tech industry from India and China but would decrease opportunities for workers from other countries to fill other sectors. This lack of additional green cards would prove concerning for the healthcare industry. The critics believe the bill would lengthen the wait for foreign-trained nurses looking to acquire immigrant visas.
For now, reform to the green card system will have to wait. Regardless, employers can still employ foreign workers using the current system. However, employers who hire foreign nationals should expect complex paperwork, such as the employment eligibility verification form (Form I-9). The easiest way to ensure compliance when completing Form I-9 is to use an electronic I-9 management system. This system guides employers through the entire process, safely and securely storing the form for easy retrieval.
When it comes to your employees, automation makes eligibility verification quick and simple. Ensure compliance today with I-9 Compliance.