The Biden administration introduced a comprehensive immigration reform bill in Congress on February 18. The bill aims to allow more permanent immigrant status or green cards for professionals, which could greatly benefit Indian professionals.
The bill titled the US Citizenship Act 2021 was introduced by Senator Bob Menendez and House of Representatives member Linda Sanchez which sought to remove the annual limits on green cards for each country, a move that would allow more immigration from India.
Spouses of H-1B visa holders will be allowed to work, a provision that former President Donald Trump tried to revoke. The bill also tries to help children of those on H-1B professional employment visas who would have become ineligible for green cards if they reach 21 years before their parents qualify for immigration.
In a statement, Sanchez said the reforms would grow “our [US] economy by making changes to the employment-based immigration system, eliminating per-country caps, making it easier for STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) advanced degree holders from US universities to stay, improving access to green cards for workers in lower-wage industries, and giving dependents of H-1B holders work authorization, and preventing children of H-1B holders from aging out of the system.” She said that the reform would also create a pilot program to boost regional economic development and incentivize higher wages for non-immigrant, high-skilled visas to prevent unfair competition with American workers.
The United States allocates 140,000 green cards annually for employment-based categories. The bill proposes to increase the limit to 20% from the current 7%. If the bill gets passed it would help a large number of Indians on H-1B visas who apply for green cards.
The proposed bill also outlines an eight-year citizenship path for undocumented immigrants who arrived in the country by January 1. It eliminates discrimination against LGBTQ families and provides security to orphans, widows, and children.
Menendez said: “We have an economic and moral imperative to pass big, bold and inclusive immigration reform that leaves no one behind.”