NEW DELHI :
For thousands of Indian techies working in the US with an H-1B visa, getting a Green Card for permanent residency status could soon be easier as the US House of Representatives has passed by a bill to remove a 7% country-cap on applicants. Many of the 300,000 Indian H1-B temporary work visa holders in the US are in various stages of the Green Card process.
10 things to know about the new US Green Card rules:
1) Currently, there is a 7% cap on the maximum number of people that can be granted Green Card during a year. Annually, 26,000 Green Cards are issued by the US government.
2) The Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act of 2019, seeks to eliminate the cap and allow up to 85% of the green cards to be given to Indians and Chinese in the first two years and 90% in the third year in order to clear the backlog.
3) This quota affects Indian technology professionals and other highly qualified people, living in the US on H1-B work visas, leading to a wait of as long as a decade. Some of the recent studies have said the waiting period for Indian IT professionals on H-1B visas is more than 70 years.
4) The bill was passed by the US House of Representatives on Wednesday by an overwhelming 365-65 votes in a 435-member House.
5) For it to become a low, the bill has to be passed by the Senate also where the ruling Republican Party enjoys a majority. The bill will then be signed into law by US President Donald Trump.
6) Top American IT companies have appreciated the bill saying that the Senate should pass it at earliest. "This promotes a fair high-skilled immigration system that's good for business and our economy," Microsoft president Brad Smith said. Amazon tweeted: "Thank you to @RepZoeLofgren and the 311 House cosponsors for supporting the Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act."
7) Congressman John Curtis said the Green Card bill will enable US companies to flourish and compete in a global economy as they hire the brightest people to create products, services, and jobs - regardless of where they were born. Congressman Zoe Lofgren said in order for American industries to remain competitive and create more jobs, they must be able to recruit and retain the best talent in the world. Indian-American Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal said the bill will provide relief to the thousands of families who have been stuck in employment backlogs for decades.
8) India has complained about the increased scrutiny and higher rates of denial of H1-B applications for Indians.
9) Democrat Representative Zoe Lofgren, who was the main mover behind the legislation, said American industries needed it to remain competitive as they were finding it "increasingly difficult when workers from high-population countries must compete for the same limited number of visas as workers from low population countries".
10) A similar bill being supported by a bipartisan group of senators, including Indian-origin Senator Kamala Harris, is slated to come up for consideration soon in the Senate.