Chain-based immigration also known as “family-based immigration” allows an individual to obtain a permanent residency (Green Card) based on his/her family relationship. Spouses and minor children of a lawful US citizen or a legal permanent resident qualify as immediate relatives and do not need to wait for a visa number. For those individuals, there’s no quota, and the U.S. citizen can simply file a Green Card petition for them.
Merit-based immigration is based on skills and favorable points, such as high-paying job offers, past achievements, English-language ability and education. All of these attributes would be taken into account when green card applications are considered. The higher the score, the more likely an immigrant would be admitted to the United States. Merit-based system in its core is indented to reward those who bring a higher value to the country. This system is not currently used but is being actively discussed in the U.S. Congress.
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