Planning for US Immigration? Indian professionals await good news from the US

By: |
July 15, 2019 3:38 PM

Handa points out, “For over a decade Indians have been major recipients of the 85,000 H1B visas issued each year.

The backlog will now be spread among all nations filing green card applications than just India.

With the US House of Representatives passing Bill to remove 7 per cent country-cap on permanent residency, there will be a significant decline in the wait times to begin with and that would provide an initial boost, opine experts.

Indians professionals account for more than 80% of pending green card applications under EB-1, EB-2, and EB-3 visa categories. If this bill becomes the law, then it will be very good news for these 300,000+ Indian professionals, says Vivek Tandon, Founder, and CEO of EB5 BRICS.

Sharing his views with Financial Express Online, Tandon says, “On the whole, this Bill does not ease the challenging immigration policy landscape in the US today. Considering elections are nearing in the US, this bill is likely to end up in the legislative graveyard and fail either in the Senate or due to the President’s veto.”

According to Tandon, it seems unlikely the law will transform the American immigration landscape significantly for the following reasons:

• The H-1B visa, the preferred route for skilled professionals to work in the US remains mired in chaos and controversies. Issues caused by arbitrary rejections combined with delays due to a surge in Requests for Evidence (RFE) and a patently-obvious bias against Indian IT companies remain unaffected by this law even if it is approved by the Senate and is signed by the President.

• The bill has merely passed the first, and probably the easiest, stage. Senate approval is tough considering the Republican majority there and President Trump’s approval for such a pro-immigration bill are very significant obstacles in the enactment of this bill.

• Instead of increasing the number of green cards issued, the bill merely removes the equitable distribution and creates a ‘first-come first-served’ formula for green cards. The backlog will now be spread among all nations filing green card applications than just India.

Says Nandika Handa executive director, EB5 USA Services, says “What one has to consider in the long run are the rejection rates attached to particular countries, and that this might somewhat mitigate the time advantage that is initially projected.”

Handa points out, “For over a decade Indians have been major recipients of the 85,000 H1B visas issued each year. If the Bill was not cleared the US Policy of putting a cap would have made it harder for the Indian IT professionals to be hired and this, in turn, would have affected the Technology Industry in the US.”

Another expert who wished to remain anonymous cautioned “Overall the US has become less-popular tech destination and the immigration restrictions are simply unnecessary problems for a sector already grappling with the disruptive impact of new developments like Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning.”

Already, the IT workers are increasingly planning a shift to neighboring countries including Canada, Mexico and other small countries in the South American region which are not at par with the US as a tech hub, simply for the long-term clarity and stability for their professional futures.

Once the Bill is signed into law, it is expected to eliminate the 7 percent cap for employment-based immigrant visas. This means that there will be an increase in the per-country cap on family-based immigrant visas from the present 7 percent of the total number of such visas available that year to 15 percent.

Mostly IT professionals from India go to the US on H-1B work visas, and are often the biggest sufferers under the present immigration system, under which there is a 7 percent per country quota cap on the allotment of the green card, or permanent legal residency.

How does it help?

After waiting for decades the removal of the cap will benefit the professionals from countries like India. Usually, for the Indian professionals, the wait for the Green Card is often more than a decade.

Through the passing of this Bill, transition rules for employment-based visas from FY22 have been established by reserving a percentage of certain like EB-2, EB-3, and EB-5 (investors) visas for those professional individuals who are not from the two countries with the largest number of recipients of such visas.

The Bill titled Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act of 2019, or HR 1044, was passed on Wednesday. However, it has yet to be passed by the US Senate, the majority is enjoyed by the ruling Republican Party and then it will go to the US President Donald Trump for his signatures before it becomes a law.

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