Congress may soon act on legislation to eliminate per-nation caps for international workers, which would make it harder for employers to hire skilled workers from particular countries. At least one Las Vegas immigration lawyer near you questions the fairness of the proposed legislation.

Currently, no nation now gets more than seven percent of the employment-based visas that are made available. However, the House of Representatives, by a 365-65 vote, recently approved the proposed elimination of the per-nation cap on employment-based green cards.

What Does The Proposed Legislation Provide?

The proposed legislation would make it easier for workers from nations with the highest number of annual applicants – such as India and China – to become lawful permanent residents in the U.S., but the proposal also makes it harder for U.S. employers to hire workers from other nations.

The current per-country cap means that workers coming from nations like India and China can wait as long as a decade to become permanent residents. That’s not the case for people coming from most other nations.

For example, workers from South Korea usually seek work in the U.S. in numbers that fall below the per-country cap. Their numbers seldom reach seven percent of the available employment-based visas, so they seldom have to wait long to obtain their visas and enter the U.S.

How Would The New Proposal Impact International Workers?

However, the number of workers who want to enter the U.S. from nations like China and India is high – it routinely exceeds the seven percent mark. In fact, some workers from these nations wait eight or ten years to enter the United States.

The green card reform proposal (officially the “Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act of 2019”) replaces per-nation caps with a first-come, first-served system that puts everyone seeking employment-based green cards – from every nation – in one very long line for green cards.

The National Iranian American Council says the proposal “would add nearly a decade in additional processing time for Iranians” and those from other underrepresented nations that do not reach the seven percent figure.

Is It Fair?

“It’s called a fairness bill – is it fair?” asks Las Vegas immigration attorney Margo Chernysheva, chair of the immigration law practice group at Fennemore Craig P.C. in Las Vegas. “In my opinion,” says the attorney, “it depends on who you are talking to.”

The number of employment-based green cards issued each year is 140,000. The present system, according to its proponents, allows the greatest diversity, because all nations are treated alike.

But those who want to eliminate the per-nation cap don’t believe that huge nations with large numbers of workers – like China and India – should be treated like small nations where few workers are even seeking to work in the United States.

Will The Proposed Changes Become Law? If So, When?

A version of the Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act of 2019 is now under consideration by the U.S. Senate, but no vote will take place before September. Will President Trump sign the legislation if it’s approved by both the Senate and the House? No one knows for sure.

An H-1B visa is good for three years and renewable for a total of six years, but H-1B visa holders may work beyond that deadline when their approval is pending for lawful permanent residency.

However, until H-1B visa holders are approved for permanent residency, they can’t switch jobs easily. Employers have a great deal of power over their lives. After attending school, working, and contributing here, if an H-1B visa holder loses the job, he or she may have to leave the U.S.

How Can You Learn More – Or Get Legal Help?

If you are a U.S.-based employer with questions about employment-based visas – or if you are a skilled international worker who is seeking an employment-based visa to work in the U.S. – let an experienced Las Vegas immigration lawyer help. Make the call – from anywhere – right now.

As you’ve just learned, it may take a considerable length of time to acquire an employment-based visa, and it takes even longer to acquire a green card, so if that is your goal, you should get started – and begin working with an experienced immigration attorney – at once.