The proposed Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act of 2019, intended to eliminate country based green card caps and reduce the long backlog in employment-based green cards, failed to pass the U.S. Senate vote on September 19. The green card cap bill was expected to pass unanimously, as it passed in the House. If a unanimous vote had passed, the Senate could have bypassed the standard committees, amendments, and resulting public debates and passed the bill without delay.
The bill would have eliminated per-country caps for employment-based green cards, and raised them to 15% for family-based. The bill does not increase or decrease the number of employment-based green cards issued each year.
The US issued a total of 1,127,167 green cards in Fiscal Year 2017, the most recent year for which data is available. About half of those green cards were issued to new arrivals to the U.S., who are mostly family members of U.S. citizens or permanent residents and foreigners with US job offers. Citizens of any one country can only be granted 7% of all available employment-based and family-based green cards annually. Vox reports,
According to the State Department, some employment-based applicants who have been waiting since June 2008 from China and since April 2010 from India only just became eligible to apply for a green card this month. Wait times among family-based applicants are even longer.
The bill would decrease the wait times of foreign nationals from India and China, but increase wait times for countries such as Canada and Argentina
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