Joe Biden will send a comprehensive immigration bill to Congress, hours after taking oath as the 46th President of the United States, which among other things will remove the per country cap for employment-based green cards.
The bill, called the US Citizenship Act of 2021, will help thousands of Indian IT professionals in US whose waiting period for legal permanent residency runs into several decades.
The bill prioritises keeping families together, grows the country's economy, responsibly manages the border with smart investments, addresses the root causes of migration from Central America, and also ensures that the US remains a refuge for those fleeing persecution, said an incoming White House official as saying.
Indian IT professionals, who are highly skilled and go to US on H-1B work visas, are the worst affected by the current immigration system which imposes a 7 per cent per country quota on allotment of green card or permanent legal residency.
The bill seeks to create a roadmap to citizenship for people living and working in US. January 1, 2021 will be the cut-off date for undocumented workers in US to apply for citizenship. Two-thirds of undocumented immigrants have been in the US for 10 years or longer.
The bill allows individuals fulfilling certain criteria to get green card and apply for citizenship after three years. Those who do not meet the criteria will also have another shot at getting the green card. They would be in an interim status for five years and can apply for citizenship within three years of getting the green card.
"The bill also clears employment-based immigration backlogs by reducing those backlogs altogether, eliminating the per country. It makes it easier for graduates of US universities with advanced degrees, in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) fields to stay in the US. It also improves access to green cards for workers from the low wage sectors," the official said.Also Read:Trump lifts COVID-19 travel curbs on Europe, BrazilAlso Read: US President Joe Biden to extend COVID-19 travel restrictions to Europe