House Proposes Jumpstart Bill to Update Legal Immigration System

The U.S. House of Representatives has introduced a new bill, The Jumpstart Our Legal Immigration System Act. The Act, which, if passed, could mean enormous changes for the current immigration process, particularly for green cards. This bill would allow for the recapture of thousands of unused employment and family-based visas and would allow for expedited processing for an additional fee.

The Act would attempt to tackle the enormous level of backlogs that the USCIS is facing of individuals waiting for employment and family visas. Learn More

Currently, more than one million individuals are waiting for employment-based visas, and four million are in the backlog for family-based visas.

Despite the enormous backlog the system has faced for years, some valid numbers have gone unused, more specifically, approximately 222,000 family-sponsored visas and 157,000 employment-based visas. The Act would amend the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) to allow for the recapture of these unused visa numbers and prevent future loss of employment-based visa numbers by guaranteeing that they will roll over to family-based visa categories.

For those currently in the U.S. and eligible but waiting for an available visa number to allow for an adjustment of status, the Act provides a new supplemental fee structure to allow them to make the adjustment immediately. These supplemental fees include:

  • “A supplemental fee of $1,500 (plus $250 for each derivative beneficiary) for a family-based visa petition.
  • A supplemental fee of $3,000 for an employment-based first, second, or third preference visa petition.
  • A supplemental fee of $15,000 for an employment-based fifth preference petition.”

This would allow these individuals to immediately apply for Employment Authorization and Advance Parole and prevent children from aging out of the ability to receive lawful permanent resident status. For employment-based petitions, it would also mean that the beneficiary would be able to port to another job after 180 days.

For the beneficiaries of an approved immigrant visa petition and their family who have a priority date more than two years in the future, the Act provides a way to bypass the numerical visa limitations for a larger supplemental fee. These fees are:

  • $2,500 for family-based petitions.
  • $7,500 for employment-based petitions for first, second, or third preference.
  • $100,000 for employment-based petitions for fifth preference.

The Act would also add supplemental fees to other existing petitions and applications, including $800 for Form I-140 petitions, $500 for Form I-765 applications, and $100 for Form I-130 petitions. The first $400 million in supplemental fees collected would be deposited into an account for the USCIS to provide for necessary expenses and to reduce the backlog of cases.

Notably, many of the provisions of this act were previously part of the Build Back Better Act as passed by the House of Representatives. If passed, the supplemental fees would likely increase the initial costs of hiring foreign national workers for employers. However, by acquiring green cards as this bill would allow these workers to do, employers would no longer need to file extensions every year which in time would likely save them long-term costs.

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