Update Aug 3, 2020: Trump mentions that the merit-based system is coming soon at his press conference again.
Trump said that this immigration bill be comprehensive and everyone will be surprised.
- He said he will announce it after one of his conventions soon.
- The system will be merit-based and will favor people who come to the USA legally.
- It will be a Bipartisan Bill.
See his press conference where he clearly talks about the new immigration bill:
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We have tried to give you a possible implementation of the USA merit-based immigration system by using the Raise Act (2017) here.
This article will discuss:
Merit Points Calculator
Note that it may or may not be implemented at all. This is just for giving you an idea about what kind of merit points may be used by the USA.
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What Is Merit Based System?
Trump has always voiced his preference for skill and education-based immigration systems which might mirror Canada or the Australian PR system.
Note that there are no details available but you can check if you will be eligible or not by checking your points using either the Canadian or Australian system or the one presented above.
There is no confirmed news about any system at this time. Just use it to get an idea and not make any immigration decisions based on it.
Fact Check – i140 EAD in Trump’s Immigration EO?
This message has been shared on WhatsApp and other socials groups today which talks about :
- Trump preparing to sign an Executive order for open unused green card numbers on or before Aug 10.
- Give i140 EADs for people who are waiting.
Note that we have no concrete information about this message except that a user shared with us for verification.
We have not heard about any such executive order from any attorney yet.
The only information that’s available is the Trump’s own press conference in which he himself said that he is going to sign a merit-based immigration executive order within 4 weeks (which incidentally is around Aug 10).
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He is looking to bring sweeping changes to U.S. immigration policy for certain migrants brought to the country illegally as children and shift the criteria for new arrivals to a “merit-based” system.
He specifically spoke the word DACA and has not told anything about legal workers in his press conference.
Trump Announcement – Merit-based EO
President Donald Trump has created a tsunami in the legal H1B and L workers community by saying that he is going to sign a new executive order that will provide a path to citizenship.
He announced it in a press conference on July 14 that a plan is under development.
Is Trump Planning to make EB Queues Current in October?
There are whispers going around in Washington DC and in many social forums that Trump may allow filing i485 and EAD by making all employment-based queues current under ‘Date of Filing’ chart.
Immigration attorney Leon Fresco also echoed the same sentiment after Trump’s announcement.
He said that even though the country of birth based limits cannot be removed by executive action, Trump can still allow everyone with an approved i140 to file i485 as early as October to get them i485 EADs.
This is not a confirmed news. Its only Fresco’s personal opinion about what can be done with an executive order. So, just wait and watch.
Given the kind of proclamations Trump has signed to protect American jobs, the idea of making all EB or family queues current sounds a bit weird.
The message that’s going around on social media goes like this:
AM22Tech Fact Check: This is a RUMOR at this time and no such verified information is available from any credible attorney.
It is possible that a mix of Canadian and Australian systems is used for the USA.
Canadian Points System
If Trump decides to follow the Canadian express entry merit system, then you can try and check your eligibility here on the Canadian website.
As of today, your realistic chance of getting a Canadian green card is good if your total points are more than 450.
If they use the exact same system in the USA, my opinion is that the total points level would easily be around 480.
Example (based on how Canadian system assigns points):
A software engineer aged 39 today will not be able to reach 450 points unless:
- He has a blood relative in the US and
- Gets maximum available score in the English language test (like IELTS) and
- Has a working spouse with high qualifications and highest English score.
With each year of additional age after 39 in the Canadian system, you lose points and the chances of the invite (getting a green card) reduce drastically with each additional year.
Australia Points System
If the US decides to go with the Australian PR style merit evaluation, you can check your points using this calculator.
As of today, the chance of getting an Australian permanent residency is good if your total points are more than 85.
If they mirror the Australian points system in the USA, my opinion is that the total points level would easily be around 85 due to the very high demand.
Example (based on how Australian system assigns points):
A software engineer aged 39 today will not be able to reach 85 points unless:
- Gets maximum available score in the English language test (like IELTS, PTE, Toefl, etc.) and
- Has a working spouse with high qualifications and highest English score.
Australian system does not allow anyone with age greater than 45 to be eligible for their green card.
People above 39 loose points quickly and the chances of the invite are almost nil with the current demand.
There is no exact time frame available but several news sites have reported that a four week period is probably possible.
This means that something might come out from the White House by around 10 August.
Bloomberg has reported that several people in the government say that it’s not possible without going through congress.
The president is planning to negotiate the merit-based immigration plan in Congress with a trade-off for DACA.
He plans to include a path to citizenship, strong border security, and permanent merit-based reforms in this deal.
If the merit-based plan is passed, it will definitely be in favor of high skilled Indian and Chinese H1B and L workers.
It is not possible to remove the country of birth green card limits by Trump’s executive order. It has to be done through a bill like S386.
Immigration attorney Leon Fresco believes that even though limits cannot be removed, Trump can still allow everyone with an approved i140 to file i485 as early as October to get them i485 EADs.
Trump’s Immigration Plan
Earlier in 2019, Trump had announced that the new plan will be passed and implemented immediately if he wins the presidential election in 2020.
Top 5 things that Trump announced in his immigration law plan in 2019:
#1 Introduce Merit-Based Skilled H1B visa system
Trump had told the media that his government will add more US Green cards to the employment-based category by reducing family-based chain migration.
The yearly H1B lottery system is going to be removed to make way for a merit-based system.
#2 Remove Per Country Green Card Limits
The new system will remove the per-country Green card cap which affects mostly Indian and Chinese nationals.
- To avoid a high percentage of east and south Asians capturing all the work visas, the new system will give extra points to people from countries with low immigration.
- If this is indeed done, then it would be a different system than the Canadian or Australian system as they both do not have any points for diversity or any specific country.
This will help answer the people who will have arguments in favor of ‘diversity’.
#3 End Diversity Green Card Lottery
The end of the diversity visa lottery system completely and add those 50k green cards to employment-based quota.
Only 10% of people will be allowed to enter on Humanitarian grounds with real needs as per the plan Trump shared in 2019.
#4 Cut Family Immigration by Half
The new plan will aim to increase the number of skilled worker Green cards by 4 times and reduce family immigration by half.
- At present, 66% immigrants come through the family channel.
- This is targeted to be reduced to 33% and spill over the quota to increase the current skilled immigrant number from 12% to 57% going forward.
This may be very good news for H1B workers if it becomes reality.
#5 Increase Legal Immigrant Salary
The average wage of legal skilled immigrants will increase from current $43,000 to 1,26,000 per year with a new plan thereby increasing social security and income tax contributions to the US government.
- The merit system will only invite people with the highest paid job offers from US employers with advanced degrees.
- The plan vows to not allow entry-level jobs to procure H1B visas going forward to protect American graduates.
My Opinion – Low Chance
If Trump gets his way, the changes are definitely very positive news for H1B families that have been lingering for decades to see the Green card.
There is no other hope available for Indian and Chinese stuck in EB2 queues without this plan.
- Trump is at-least bringing it to the forefront of his agenda and main-stream media.
- It is a good thing that he is focusing on skill-based immigration during his re-election agenda.
A merit-based system will definitely help the overall US economy. More skilled people will be welcomed and the system will be fair to all irrespective of their country of birth. This will be a big win.
The chances of this immigration law change getting passed in Congress are low though unless a good deal is negotiated.
The challenge will be to make Democrats agree to this proposal as they are more inclined towards DACA immigrants than high skilled category.
Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner has worked on a merit-based immigration system.