S.386 Poised To Become Law, Indian Nationals Stand To Benefit

Updated: Jan 14



BACKGROUND


On December 2, 2020 the Senate passed The Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act or S.386.


For many years, persons applying for permanent residence in the United States were subject to 7% country caps across immigrant visa categories (family-based, employment-based etc.). This meant that no more than 7% of the total number of visas available could be issued to persons from any one country in a given year.


Consequently, nationals of countries such as India and China were disadvantaged, as the number of persons applying for U.S. permanent residence far exceeded the number of available visas under the country cap system.


This resulted in some persons waiting decades for their green card applications to be processed.


The Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act seeks to remedy the challenges of this system by expanding (and in some cases removing) the country caps on immigrant visas.


POTENTIAL OUTCOMES OF THE BILL

  • Increased cap on family-based immigrant visas from 7% to 15%

  • Elimination of the 7% cap for employment-based immigrant visas

  • Removal of the offset that limited the number of visas for Chinese nationals

  • Establishment of transition rules for employment-based visas from fiscal year 2020-2022. Reserving a percentage of EB-2 and EB-3 visas for individuals not from the two countries with the largest number of recipients of such visas. Of the unreserved visas, not more than 85 % will be allotted to immigrants from any single country.


(Source: The American Bazaar)


In July 2019, S.386’s counterpart H.R. 1044 was passed in the House of Representatives. The two bills are awaiting reconciliation before the president approves the final bill.


This controversial bill has elicited strong reactions. Many believe it signals the end of nationality discrimination for countries whose nationals have had to contend with decades-long backlogs.


However, others fear that applications from these countries will overpower the system and create a backlog for the rest of the world.


See article: Senate passes S.386, giving ray of hope for Indian nationals in Green Card backlog


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