Trump Merit-Based Green Card Plan (Try Points System)

Trump's immigration plan (merit based) for path to citizenship for DACA & legal H1B workers. Check your points with possible Merit point system (Raise Act).

  By Am22tech    Updated  9 Nov, 20

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:

Open video in new Window >      

We have tried to give you a possible implementation of the USA merit-based immigration system by using the Raise Act (2017) here.

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.

Open App in new Window >      

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.
Is i140 EAD for high skilled immigrants for America coming up?
Is i140 EAD for high skilled immigrants for America coming up?

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).

Open video in new Window >      

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.

Are you ready If Trump makes EB green card queues current?

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:

Buzz around DC Immigration attorney’s is that Trump may be signing a new Executive order to allow everyone who has an approved I-140 to apply for 485 and be granted 485 EADs as early as August 10. This is going to benefit over 300K Indians plus 300K dependents, who have been stuck in GC backlog due to Country wide quotas. While Congress still needs to pass Bill S386 to remove quotas, atleast Trumps Executive order will benefit Indians to apply for 485 and get EADs so their families can work and stay anywhere….

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.


When will Trump sign the new executive order for the Merit-based Plan?

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.

Can Trump Change Law With Executive Order?

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.

Can Country of Birth green card limits be removed by Trump Executive order?

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.


  By Am22tech  

Recent discussion on forum

  1. anonymous

    That means people with age 45 or above waiting in line more then years needs to pack up their bags if this passed.

    This is a such an obvious play and a ploy for Asian and Hispanic votes for the elections,that should not be taken any serious.

    As long as his immigration guy Stephen Miller is in white house, he will let anything pass through that favors immigrants.

    Don’t keep any hopes high on this. If they really want to help, they had lot of chances to do in past 3.5 years instead of last 3 months before an election.

    They enacted one of most strictest legal immigration laws going after every visa category in the past 3.5 years all due to Stephen Miller and then suddenly change mind in last 90 days.

  2. anonymous100

    Merit based system has extra points for experience in country like Canada has it Australia has it (if I am not wrong).

    Until this is a part of the proposed US plan, people with 32+ plus whose spouse is not working and people with 35 plus whose spouse is working find it difficult to get gc.

  3. anonymous51

    It’s all speculation
    His idea of merit based mayb entirely different- he mentioned wage levels as the criteria earlier

    In short I don’t think he is gonna copy Canada or Australia
    His intention are more to block legal immigration not enable it.

  4. anonymous

    I seriously think that eb2 and eb3 can be in trouble.

    This is very bad for people with approved i140 petition.

  5. anonymous

    merit based for DACA … most children are just high school pass based on recent study. So maybe they might define a path so tight tht no one from DACA will even qualify :blush:

  6. anonymous22

    Nothing major is going to happen until next election. He can’t create a new immigration system by and EO.

    This has to come from congress and with divided congress and covid pandemic no one is going to touch this hot potato before election.

    All he can do via EO, he is already doing it.

    Employment visa system ces from bills passed by congress. He can temporarily block or adjust them in the name of national security or public safety but can’t change the laws

    Dems are not going to hand him a major victory with a bipartisan bill just before congress even if they get evething they want to.

    Washington is all about politics.

    Years ago he had a bipartisan deal around DACA with dems giving him money for his wall but he backed out at the last moment under pressure from right wing anti immigration people in the Media.

  7. anonymous

    If Canada’s or Australian merit-based system or a similar one if implemented in the USA, then it will be disastrous for Indians awaiting GC in EB-2 and EB-3 especially 2009-2014/15 Priority dates.

    In most merit-based programs, Age plays a crucial and very factor and everyone above 35’s will have disadvantages, and singles in the mid-'20s with an advanced degree will be preferred.

    In short, people with priority dates after 2015 will have an advantage over 2009 dates…Kind of retrogression

  8. anonymous

    In my opinion, I dont think democrats will support him in any immigration bill, like DACA, right before the election.

    Democrats will use DACA as a weapon for coming election and they want to take a full credit for that. Although democrats wants DACA issue to be resolved, they don’t want that to be done while Trump is in the office.

    Trump is bringing back his previous election’s immigration plan again to attract voters.

  9. anonymous

    While I understand we don’t know the exact details of this EO, I have a question that may impact my future, so need your opinion on it-

    I am in the process of transferring to a new employer B. I already have an approved I-140 (PD: 10/2018) with my current employer A.

    Q1: When I transfer to new employer B, what happens to my already approved I-140 with employer A? Is it revoked, deemed invalid/not usuable even if not revoked?

    Q2: I have good relation with my current employer A, and I may be able to convince them to not revoke I-140 even after I leave. Is that legally allowed?

    Q3: If as per EO, anyone with approved I-140 gets a GC or is eligible to file for GC would I need to wait for new I-140 through employer B to pass or would I be able to use the previous I-140 (if not revoked)?

    Q4 (related to Q3): If I were to use (not revoked) I-140, will I need to transfer back my H1 to employer A?

  10. anonymous100

    I think I140 can’t be revoked by employers… Only USCIS can do it if there is an error or fraud…

    Also mainly it takes time to have PERM approved. I140s can be done in premium and can be concurrently filed with i485.

    Also your employer can file i140 only when you are employed with them.

  11. anonymous

    If McConnell and Trump really wanted S386 could have passed the senate. It did pass the Democrat majority house.

    It was because of McConnell 's reluctance that S386 became subject to whims of individual senators and not decided by opinion of the majority.

  12. waqas_ahmad

    Hi sir I wana ask questions, of merit base immigration system come what will happen wth pending petition, I mean who r waiting for interview specially f1,f2,f3,f4
    It wil extend their visa time

  13. kaipulla007

    someone built a calculator on 30togc based on a senate bill that trump is going to base his merit based system.

    one would need 30 points to be eligible. based on the calculator not every one in h1b is going to be benefit from it. it will be beneficial only if the EO has additional points for i140 approval.

  14. Akash_Joshi

    If they use the parameter of state median household income, then the applicants from DC and NJ will be affected the most. Because the median household income in these states is 84k and 81k respectively.
    And I assume, if this comes to fruition, then there will definitely be some kind of income based points.
    Per the failed raise act, people need a minimum of 1.5x the median household income to get any points.

  15. anonymous

    Hello Sir Greetings


    I am writing to you about adverse after affects of Merit based immigration rules (expected to be effected in 2nd week of Aug 2020) on some sectors / branches where the sector wise salaries are inherently less as compared to Computer / IT sector salaries.

    I am basing my point on the basis that expected ruling will be more or less similar to RAISE Act proposed in 2017.

    In ‘Wage Level factor’ of RAISE Act, USCIS is proposing to give 5, 8 & 13 marks based on salary which is 1.5 to 2 times, 2 to 3 times, 3 times & above respectively of MEDIAN HOUSEHOLD SALARY OF THE APPLYING STATE.

    Now here the actual problem will get introduced in new proposal. I will explain here.

    Wage Level factor is kept as a function of ONLY median household income of applying state but not as a function of Specialist Branch in which the person has studied/working.

    This is going to affect branches like Civil, Environmental, Mechanical, Metallurgy engineering etc where the salaries are in the range of only $ 55000-$75000 for 1-3 years of employment.

    Now median household salary in most of the US states is between $ 55000-$65000.

    If we do the maths on this, these branch persons will never reach to even 5 marks in Wage Level factor. So they wont reach the 30 marks required for applying for GC which ultimately means all of these above named branch persons will be always out of queue of GC.

    PARA 2

    My plea is based on the process of H1B petition filing. In that, LCA approval by DOL is based on these two factors

    1. Specialist Branch
    2. Wage levels of particular county where the person is working.

    This is very balanced way of assessment of persons standing in the Tech market.

    Similarly the new 2020 proposal should also include Specialist Branch along with salary levels.

    Otherwise only few sectors (Computer, IT, Electronic etc) where the salaries are higher inherently, will get GC and others branches will be washed off from this privilege.

    Hope the grim concern of mine is understood.


    This technical point needs to be apprised to the authorities who are in the process of drafting the new proposals through you and other attorneys and lobbying groups.

    We need to move fast so that our concern is heard before the proposal is announced & damage is done and that scenario will be difficult to be retrieved.

    PS . Please do let me know if and how do you propose to transmit this to White House.

    Thanks and Regards

Comments are closed. Ask question on Forum

4 more replies