This is continuation of series of articles about the Immigration Reform Bill introduced in the Congress. In the first part we discussed about the provisions relating to legalization of individuals in unlawful status, who resided in the US prior to December 31, 2011.
- The bill eliminates the backlog for family and employment-based immigrants (see below discussion of merit-based system).
- Currently, there are four preference categories based on family relationships and 480,000 visas are allocated to family. Under the new system there will be two family preference categories and they will cover unmarried adult children; married adult children who file before age 31, and unmarried adult children of lawful permanent residents. We are expanding the current V visa to allow individuals with an approved family petition to live in the U.S. and allow certain other family members to visit the U.S. for up to 60 days per year.
- The bill repeals the availability of immigrant visas for siblings of U.S. citizens once 18 months have elapsed since the date of enactment.
- The bill amends the definition of “immediate relative” to include a child or spouse of an alien admitted for lawful permanent residence.
- The bill amends the existing category for married sons and daughters of citizens of the United States to include only sons and daughters who are under 31 years of age.
- The bill repeals the Diversity Visa Program. Aliens who were or are selected for diversity immigrant visas for fiscal years 2013 or 2014 will be eligible to receive them.
- On the employment green card categories, the bill exempts the following categories from the annual numerical limits on employment-based immigrants: derivative beneficiaries of employment-based immigrants; aliens of extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business or athletics; outstanding professors and researchers; multinational executives and managers; doctoral degree holders in any field; and certain physicians..
- The bill then allocates 40 percent of the worldwide level of employment-based visas to : 1) members of the professions holding advanced degrees or their equivalent whose services are sought in the sciences, arts, professions, or business by an employer in the United States (including certain aliens with foreign medical degrees) and 2) aliens who have earned a master’s degree or higher in a field of science, technology, engineering or mathematics from an accredited U.S. institution of higher education and have an offer of employment in a related field and the qualifying degree was earned in the five years immediately before the petition was filed.
- The bill increases the percentage of employment visas for skilled workers, professionals, and other professionals to 40 percent, maintains the percentage of employment visas for certain special immigrants to 10 percent and maintains visas for those who foster employment creation to 10 percent.
- The bill creates a startup visa for foreign entrepreneurs who seek to migrate to the United States to startup their own companies.
- Merit Based Visa:The merit based visa, created in the fifth year after enactment, awards points to individuals based on their education, employment, length of residence in the US and other considerations. Those individuals with the most points earn the visas. Those who access the merit based pathway to earn their visa are expected to be talented individuals, individuals in our worker programs and individuals with family here. 120,000 visas will be available per year based on merit. The number would increase by 5%