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US Congress to vote on bill to remove 7% country-cap on Green Card, Indians may benefit

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Washington: US lawmakers will vote yesterday on lifting the seven per cent country-cap on issuing the Green Card, a move which may benefit thousands of highly-skilled Indian IT professionals waiting in the queue for decades.

A Green Card allows a person to live and work permanently in the US.

Indian IT professionals, most of whom are highly skilled and come to the US mainly on the H-1B work visas, are the worst sufferers of the current immigration system which imposes a seven per cent per country quota on allotment of the coveted Green Cards or permanent legal residency.

Being supported by more than 310 lawmakers from both the Republican and the Democratic Party, the 'Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act' is all set to sail through the 435-member US House of Representatives.

Buoyed by the fact of 203 Democrats and 108 Republicans are co-sponsoring the bill, the proponents of the legislation are using a fast-track process which requires 290 votes to pass a bill without hearing and amendments.

Lifting the per-country cap would mainly benefit professionals from countries like India, for whom the wait for Green Card is more than a decade. Some of the recent studies have said the waiting period for Indian IT professionals on H-1B visas is more than 70 years.

No more than seven per cent of the visas may be issued to natives of any one independent country in a fiscal year, according to the US Citizenship and Immigration Services.

The Library of Congress said the act, also known as HR 1044, is the most viewed bill in the week beginning July 7.

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