US House passes bill to lift country-specific cap on issuing green cards, move to benefit highly-skilled Indian IT professionals

Washington: The US lawmakers on Wednesday passed a bill aimed at lifting the present seven percent country-cap on issuing green cards, a move which would benefit thousands of highly-skilled Indian IT professionals. A 'green card' allows a person to live and work permanently in the US.

 US House passes bill to lift country-specific cap on issuing green cards, move to benefit highly-skilled Indian IT professionals

File photo of US president Donald Trump. AP

Passed by the US House of Representatives, the bill, on being signed into law, would considerably shorten the agonising wait of professionals from countries like India who have applied for permanent residency in the United States.

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

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 percent 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.

According to the Congressional Research Service (CRS), this bill increases the per-country cap on family-based immigrant visas from seven percent of the total number of such visas available that year to 15 percent and eliminates the seven percent cap for employment-based immigrant visas.

It also removes an offset that reduced the number of visas for individuals from China. The bill, however, has to be passed by the Senate, wherein the Republicans enjoy a majority, before it can be signed into law by President Donald Trump.

Updated Date: Jul 11, 2019 10:42:07 IST