Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act of 2019

Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act of 2019

Image result for immigration bill

Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act of 2019 was passed by the U.S. House of Representatives on July 10, 2019 and goes to the Senate next for consideration.

If enacted, the bill would eliminate the per-country limit for all employment-based immigrants and increase the per-country limit for all family-sponsored immigrants from 7 percent to 15 percent.

For employment-based visa applicants, the bill establishes a three-year transition period to ease the elimination of the per country cap, as follows:

  • FY2020:15% of all EB-2, EB-3, and EB-5 visas shall be allotted to immigrants who are natives of a foreign country that is not one of the two countries with the largest aggregate numbers of natives who are beneficiaries of approved immigrant visa petitions under such employment-based preference categories.
  • FY2021 & FY2022:10% of all EB-2, EB-3, and EB-5 visas shall be allotted to immigrants who are natives of a foreign country that is not one of the two countries with the largest aggregate numbers of natives who are beneficiaries of approved immigrant visa petitions under such employment-based preference categories.
  • During the transition period, no more than 85% of visas shall be allotted to immigrants from any single country.

One main feature of H.R. 1044 that differentiates it from previous version is the inclusion of a “do no harm” provision, which provides that beneficiaries of an employment-based immigrant visa petition approved before the bill’s enactment shall receive a visa no later than they otherwise would have received such visa had this bill not been enacted. The “do no harm” provision does not apply to pending employment-based petitions or any family-sponsored petitions.

 

AILA provides analysis about possible impacts on the current green card backlog, as well as on future wait times for both employment-based and family-sponsored immigrant visas

a. Impact on Employment-Based Visa Applicants

If enacted, the Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act of 2019 would move green card wait times forward for foreign nationals who have waited the longest in the green card lines, particularly those from India and China awaiting a visa in the EB-2, EB-3, and EB-5 visa backlogs.

Once the bill’s three-year transitional period ends on September 30, 2022, the employment-based immigration system will operate, in general, on a first-come, first-serve basis.

b. Impact on Family-Sponsored Visa Applicants

If enacted, the Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act of 2019 would increase the per-country limit for family-sponsored immigrants from 7% to 15%, which represents an increase from 15,820 to 33,900 family-sponsored green cards that a single country could receive in a single fiscal year. This would result in a higher number of immigrant visas being allocated to individuals from the most backlogged countries, which are Mexico, the Philippines, and to a lesser extent India, who generally have been waiting the longest in almost all of the family-sponsored preference categories.

 

Source: AILA Doc. No. 19072400.