Congress Passes the Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrant Act Which Can Affect Priority Dates and Visa Availabilities
On November 29, 2011, Congress passed H.R. 3012 (The Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrant Act) by a vote of 389-15 with no additional amendments. The measure now moves on to the Senate for consideration. The Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrant Act was introduced on September 22, 2011 by Rep. Chaffetz (R-UT) to eliminate the employment-based per-country cap entirely by fiscal year 2015 and raises the family-sponsored per-country cap from 7% to 15%.
This passed Bill aims to move away from the current law, under which immigrants from an individual country who are in the U.S. on an employment visa such as an H1-B cannot apply for more than seven per cent of the 140,000 green cards issued annually by the State Department. The Act ultimately eliminates this per country percentage cap. What this implies is that countries that are facing the highest demand-supply mismatch for green cards, among which India ranks first and China second, then Mexico and the Philippines will see a benefit in terms of prospective green card issuance (shorter waiting time for priority dates to be current), whereas the waiting time for other nations would be significantly longer.
Therefore, the Act greatly will improve the processing times for Indian and Chinese green card applicants. However, an unintended consequence of the Act likely would be the slower processing times for natives of other countries.
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