(Information for the following article was obtained from NY Times, November 30, 2011, Highly Skilled Immigrants May Wait Less for Visas, by Julia Preston)
The House of Representatives last week passed a bill that will make it easier for highly skilled immigrants from India and China to become legal permanent residents. The bill will reduce visa backlogs which are often seen as a huge impediment for visa petitioners who sometimes had wait times of decades before they would receive their documents. The bill eliminates limits on the number of green cards based on employment that is available annually to each country. Currently, 140,000 green cards are available each year for immigrants based on their job skills, with each country limited to 7 percent of those visas. Under the bill, after a 3 year transition, all employment-based green cards will be issued on a first come first serve basis, with no country limits.
The bill also includes measures that will more than double the green cards available for Mexicans and Filipinos, the two national groups facing the longest backlogs on the family side of the system. It will raise the country limit for 226,000 family green cards each year to 15 percent from the current 7 percent.
Many of the highly skilled immigrants from India and China will have master’s degrees and doctorates in science and engineering. The immigrants and their employers have passed labor market tests showing that qualified Americans were not available for the jobs they hold. This will be a boon to American technology companies who have been anxiously awaiting Congress working with them to offer more green cards for their foreign employees.
As always, for all of your immigration questions and needs, we here at the Law Firm of Vaughn & Weber PLLC can be of assistance. Please feel free to contact us at (516) 858-2620 or visit our website at www.vaughnweberlaw.com.
In addition to the timelines and stress of dealing with the government, many people find that the costliness of filing fees involved with visas and petitions prohibit them from proceeding with their Immigration issues. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is funded largely by application and petition fees, however they have instituted a few policies which make it possible for certain individuals to have their Immigration Fees waived. A person who seeks to have the fees waived must demonstrate an inability to afford to pay the fees associated with certain applications and forms. The USCIS has created a form I-912 which will waive the fee for benefit services including but not limited to Applications to replace Permanent Resident cards, Applications for Travel Documents and Applications to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status. In the case of the latter, Asylum seekers and/or battered or abused spouses may have their fees waived because of their special circumstances. The granting of any fee waiver is at the sole discretion of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) however an immigration attorney may help navigate through this difficult process. As always, if you have any questions, please feel free to call us at (516) 858-2620!