Update May 16, 2019 – Legal Immigrant Increase Proposal
As highlighted yesterday, Trump presented the new immigration plan that favors Employment based green card than family based immigration.
Trump says 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:
#1 Introduce Merit Based Skilled H1B visa system
Trump government will add more US Green cards to employment based category by reducing family based chain migration. Merit based immigration to US similar to what Canada has.
The yearly H1B lottery system is going to be removed to make way for 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 high percentage of east and south Asians capturing all the work visa, the new system will give extra points to people from countries with low immigration.
This will help answer the people who will have arguments in favor of ‘diversity’.
#3 End Diversity Green Card Lottery
The end of diversity visa lottery system completely and add those 50k green cards to employment based quota. Only 10% people will be allowed to enter on Humanitarian grounds with real needs.
#4 Cut Family Immigration by Half
The new plan will increase the number of skilled worker Green cards by 4 times and reduce the the family immigration by half. At present, 66% immigrants to US come through 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. Good news for H1B workers.
#5 Increase Legal Immigrant Salary
Average wage of legal skilled immigrants will increase from current $43,000 to 1,26,000 per year with new plan thereby increasing social security and income tax contributions to US government.
The merit system will only invite people with highest paid job offers from US employers with advanced degrees. Entry level jobs will not be allowed 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.
The thing is that there is no other hope available for Indian and Chinese at this time. Trump is at-least bringing it to the fore-front of his agenda and main-stream media. It is a good thing that he is focusing on skill based immigration and planning to make it his next year re-election agenda.
But, at-least he is thinking in right direction as far as skilled workers are concerned. He will probably keep marketing it in election speeches from now on and will help prepare the country and voters to change their anti-immigrant mindset.
Skilled immigration huge backlog issues will now be discussed in prime time slots and will help create a positive outlook.
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. The challenge will be to make Democrats agree to this proposal as they are more inclined towards DACA immigrants than high skilled category.
The other bill HR 1044 to remove country based Green Card limits is also gaining support in house quite aggressively.
As reported by Politico earlier on Apr 3, Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, has been working for months on this proposal and has been trying to take advises from hard line anti-immigrants too.
Trump Tweet in Favor of H1B Visa
All this started with a Trump Tweet in jan 2019 when he tweeted that his government is coming with a concrete plan to design path to citizenship (not even a green card) for H1B visa holders.
Given the current un-certainty of H1B visa extension and extremely long waiting for Indian, Chinese EB2, EB3 Green card, this is a potential news.
H1-B holders in the United States can rest assured that changes are soon coming which will bring both simplicity and certainty to your stay, including a potential path to citizenship. We want to encourage talented and highly skilled people to pursue career options in the U.S.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 11, 2019
Off-course, any such path has to be approved by congress by changing US immigration law and cannot simply be achieved using executive orders.
The Trump seems to have changed his political tune by claiming “We want to encourage talented and highly skilled people to pursue career options in the US” probably to change election narrative next year.