July 15, 2019

Bill To Raise Number Of High-Skill Worker Visas Passes U.S. House

The House of Representatives passed H.R. 1044, the Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act, last week with a bipartisan vote of 365–65.

The legislation would eliminate the per-country caps on employment-based immigration that have created lengthy backlogs for certain individuals awaiting green cards. It also would increase the per-country numerical limitation from seven percent to 15 percent of the total number of employment-based visas and visas for those in the family-based preference categories.

The current visa backlog and resulting delays deter talent from remaining in the United States and create uncertainty for these individuals and their families. The bipartisan legislation was introduced in February 2019 by Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.).

After the successful House vote, Rep. Lofgren said, “In order for American industries to remain competitive and create more jobs, they must be able to recruit and retain the best talent in the world … This becomes increasingly difficult when workers from high-population countries must compete for the same limited number of visas as workers from low population countries.” She said her legislation “would phase-in a visa system where the applicant’s nationality is irrelevant, providing relief to individuals who’ve waited patiently for a green card for years, if not decades, while they continue to work and contribute to our economy.”