A collection of 40 lawmakers, led by Raja Krishnamoorthi – co-chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC) Immigration Task Force – has written to Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate leader Chuck Schumer demanding that the immigration system be reformed to help the economy recover in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Their key request was a “path to lawful permanent residence for the 1.2 million people in the employment-based green card backlog, most of whom are H-1B visa holders” – suggesting that failure to do so would be detrimental to the economy. H-1B holders are non-immigrants who have been granted temporary permission to work in the US. These are skilled workers who often work in tech giants and professional positions requiring specialized expertise.
US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issues 140,000 green cards for employment-based preference groups each year, a number that includes spouses and minor children of the primary worker. A 7% single-country cap means that applicants from countries like India, China and Mexico with large numbers of applications face longer wait times for a green card.
The green card backlog for employment-based immigrants in 2020 crossed 1.2 million applicants, a record number, according to USCIS data. Around 50% PERM applications submitted are for Indian nationals, followed by the Chinese at about 12%. Many technology firms sponsor their H-1B workers for a green card in order to hold on to skilled talent once they are no longer eligible for further extensions on their work permit. In recent years, these include the likes of California-basedAmazon, Google and Microsoft who battle for the brightest minds from across the globe.
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© Margaret W. Wong & Associates 2021. The above text is for informational purposes only and is not legal advice.