US Senate on Wednesday passed a legislation raising country limits on the annual grant of Green Cards — permanent residencies — that, when enacted, will stand to benefit hundreds of thousands of Indian-origin applicants who currently face a statistical possibility of waiting for decades for their turn.
The Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act was passed on Wednesday by unanimous consent. The House of Representatives had passed its own version of the legislation in 2019.
The two bills will now go through a reconciliation process to iron out the differences, and a combined legislation must pass both chambers again before being sent to the White House for the president’s signature and enactment.
“Ending nationality discrimination and levelling the playing field for high-skilled applicants, our legislation will keep families together while helping American companies retain top talent. I urge my colleagues and the President to take the final steps necessary to make these reforms a reality,” said Raja Krishnamoorthi, the Indian American lawmaker who co-sponsored by the House bill.
The US grants some 1 million Green Cards a year. But a country cap limits their numbers to 7% of the total for applicants from every specific country. The worst affected by this country limit are Indian applicants, with more than 300,000 primary applicants in the backlog.
The bill passed by the Senate raises the limit to 15%. Immigration Voice, which advocates end to country caps, said the bill would clear the Green Card backlog a lot sooner.