On February 7, 2019, Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants bill was introduced in the US House of Representatives and Senate. If passed by Congress and signed into law, the Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act would eliminate the per-country numerical limitation for employment-based green cards and increase the per-country numerical limitation for family-sponsored immigrants from 7% to 15% of the total number of family-sponsored visas.
The Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act would benefit thousands of Indian professionals on H-1B visas whose current wait time for permanent legal residency is more than a decade. Indian professionals in the EB3 category possessing a Bachelor’s degree or Bachelor’s degree plus 4 years of experience have a 10 year waiting period as do professionals in the EB2 category. Other country nationals such as those from China may have a 3 to 4 year wait depending on the category to receive permanent residency.
Permanent residency allows a person to live and work permanently in the United States. The H-1B visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows US companies to employ foreign workers in speciality occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise.
The United States makes currently 140,000 green cards available every year to employment-based immigrants, including many who first come here on temporary H-1B or L visas. The Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act alters the per-country limits for employment-based immigrants so that all are treated equally regardless of their country of birth. If enacted into law, the green card wait times for employment-based immigrants from high-volume user countries, such as China and India, would be reduced.
Without adding any new green cards, the new bill creates a "first-come, first-served" system that will alleviate the backlogs and would allow green cards to be awarded more efficiently.