Currently, there is a per-country cap on employment-based green cards. In other words, there is the same set number of these green cards available for immigrants from each country. It does not matter how big the country is or how many immigrants from that country are currently living and working legally in the United States. The same number of these green cards are available for immigrants from Greenland as are available for immigrants from India or China.
According to Congress member Kevin Yoder, this has created a nearly impenetrable backlog for immigrants from certain countries, while immigrants from other countries have a much shorter wait to obtain permanent residence. In hopes of solving the problem, he has introduced H.R. 392, the Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act.
Massive Backlogs For Immigrants From Certain Countries
In an interview with Forbes, Yoder illustrates the problem by focusing on Indian immigrants. 140,000 employment-based green cards are issued each year. That breaks down to about 9,800 per country. While that may be fine for immigrants from some countries, there may be up to 2 million Indian immigrants in the United States right now. The backlog for Indian immigrants is not a matter of two or three years, but two or three decades. The wait is so long that their children are aging out, becoming adults and having to apply for visas of their own if they want to stay in the country.
Instead, the Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act proposes to do away with the per-country caps and move to a first-come, first-served, merit-based approach.
Will this be a positive move? How will it impact immigrants from countries without substantial backlogs? Only time will tell. The bill is currently making its way through the legislature but seems to have amassed substantial support.