Washington: A group of influential US lawmakers has introduced a bill in Congress to roll back nearly 380,000 unused family and employment-based visas to reduce the green card backlog, a move that could help thousands of India’s highly-skilled IT professionals. can be of benefit.

A green card, officially known as a permanent resident card, is a document issued to immigrants in the US as proof that the holder has been granted the privilege of permanent residence. According to a 2020 report, an Indian citizen has a backlog of more than 195 years to obtain a permanent residence or a green card.

The Jumpstart Our Legal Immigration System Act, introduced by House Immigration and Citizenship Subcommittee Chair Zoe Lofgren, proposes to reclaim approximately 222,000 unused family-sponsored visas and about 157,000 employment-based visas. Among other things, it would allow immigrant US residents to be eligible for adjustment to legal permanent residency (LPR) status to apply for adjustment after paying a fee, but lacking the number of visas currently available. Due to not being able to do so.

In a big boost to a large number of Indians, it will allow them to obtain work authorization while waiting for a visa number to become available and prevent dependent children from ageing out of eligibility for LPR status. Indian IT professionals, most of whom are highly skilled and come to the US mainly on H-1B work visas, are the worst victims of the current immigration system, which imposes a seven per cent per-country quota on the allocation of the coveted green card. Permanent legal residence.

The H-1B visa, the most sought after among Indian IT professionals, is a non-immigrant visa that allows US companies to employ foreign workers in specialized occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise. Technology companies depend on it to hire thousands of employees every year from countries like India and China.

The law also seeks to allow immigrants in the US to be exempt from immigrant visa numerical limits and adjust their status to a green card if their immigrant visa petition is approved for two years and they receive a supplemental fee. pay the. Its co-sponsors are House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler and Congressman Judy Choo and Congressman Richie Torres.

“We all know that our immigration system is bad and in dire need of reform for decades,” Lofgren said. The infrastructure for allocating immigrant visas dates back to the mid-20th century and was last seriously updated in 1990 when Congress established a worldwide numerical limit on visas and a 7 percent per-country cap that is today is also present.

Over time, these limitations have led to backlogs that were unimaginable in 1990, she said. The act will help reduce the backlog, allowing immigrants to contribute more fully to their communities and our national economy, while also allowing American companies to attract and retain high-skilled workers. This will enhance our country’s competitive advantage and our position as a global leader in innovation, he added.

Nadler said: “By restoring the availability of immigrant visas lost to COVID-19 or bureaucratic delays and increasing green card processing, we are investing in our families and US businesses. Our immigration system is in dire need of reform and this law is an important step in the right direction… The Act will take back some 400,000 family and employment-based visas that are already here and a quick adjustment of status for them will prepare the way. Giving much-needed funding to the US Citizenship and Immigration Services to improve visa processing.

Congress member Chu said more than four million people in family immigration are waiting to be reunited with their loved ones. Chu said unused visas that were lost due to delays and bureaucracy would help reduce an already burdensome backlog for immigrant families and workers.

Congressman Torres said the legislation would begin to address the visa backlog, which has blocked hundreds of thousands of family- and employment-based visas from entering the US, while also providing relief for diversity visa winners hit by the Trump travel ban. Is.