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House has passed the ambitious BBB (Build Back Better) act with immigration proposals.
- House Voting: Passed.
- Senate Voting: There is no information available about Senate’s version of language at this time. It is possible that they will reuse the same language once passed by House.
- President Sign: Once passed by both House and Senate, president sign will make it a law.
As per the current version of the House bill’s language, there are benefits for all including legal dreamers (H4 and L2 kids) along with a faster Green card without the wait for employment-based categories.
Active date if passed and becomes Law by Dec 31, 2021: 1 May 2022
This bill will give the chance to get a Green card for backlogged Indians and Chinese for the next 10 years i.e. until 30 Sep 2031, after which these clauses will expire and all the queues will start backlogging again.
This article will discuss:
#1 Green Card Recapture & No Dependent Counting
The combination of recapture and no counting of dependents will be the golden combination.
There are about 225k green card numbers that will be recaptured which has the potential of moving both Indian and Chinese EB2 and EB3 backlog to current easily in one single visa bulletin.
The family-based Green card will also be recaptured and should help move the backlogged queues there as well.
Chances of passing?
Although we would like to see this happen, the chances are low that this provision will make it to the final law based on the past 20 years of history.
#2 File i485 without Date being Current
This is a great addition and allows you to file i485 even if your date is not ‘current’ in the visa bulletin. Basically, this will make the ‘Date of filing’ chart useless.
File i485 – Pay $1500 (+$250 for each dependent)
You would be allowed to file the i485 by paying $1500 (+$250 for each dependent) even if your date is not current at this time.
This will give you benefits of i485 EAD and using the AC21 to change jobs easily without worrying about filing PERM and i140 again with a new employer.
Pay to Skip GC Quota after 2 years
A payment-based system will be introduced to skip the GC quota waiting if your priority date is at least 2 years old:
- Pay $2,500 extra per family for family based Green card
- Pay $5k extra per family to avoid of EB quota waiting in Employment based EB1, 2, 3 and 4.
- Pay $50k extra per family to avoid EB5 quota waiting.
Isn’t it awesome that you can skip the waiting list if you can pay a little extra? We are sure almost every Indian and Chinese will happily pay and get rid of the mental stress.
It’s better to pay USCIS than to pay the doctor for mental stress!
#3 Essential Workers
As per the DOS essential worker definition document linked by Greg Siskind, there are a lot of workers included but only if they cannot work remotely.
The definition is quite broad as it includes almost all industries like:
- Medical and healthcare, – like Doctors and Nurses
- Telecommunications, – People working on ground to provide support
- Information technology systems, – People who cannot work remotely, working in Cyber security etc.
- Food and agriculture,
- Transportation and logistics,
- Water and wastewater, and
- Law enforcement like Police, ICE and similar
This excludes most of the people working in the IT industry on an H1B visa if they can work remotely.
The doctors and nurses will be included though as they need to be physically present on-site to perform their job functions.
#4 Dreamers H4, L2 Kids
H4 and L2 kids will be able to apply for Green cards if:
- They came to the US before the age of 18 and
- Have continuosly resided in the US since they last arrived (small trips to home country can be ignored) and
- Have been physically present in the US on Jan 1, 2021.
In addition to the above requirements, a dreamer must satisfy at least one of these:
- Serve honorably in the Uniformed Services OR
- Graduate from college or a postsecondary vocational school OR
- Show 3 years of consistent earned income OR
- Be enrolled in 2) and in a training program
#5 No Wastage of Green Card Numbers
This is the most sensible and welcome change. There will be no wastage at the end of the fiscal year just because USCIS or DOS could not process them timely.
This will save USCIS and DOS from litigations and help the EB and FB categories who are always under threat of losing the chance for a Green card if the fiscal year ends and the GC numbers are lost on Sep 30.
It seems that USCIS & DOL are anxiously waiting for this law’s future as well.
- The Indian EB2 & EB3 backlogs will immediately see a huge jump if the employment-based green cards are recaptured from 1992.
- This has the potential to make both EB2 and EB3 India current upto Dec 2018 immediately as about 225k GCs could be available.
- Almost 75% of these recaptured EB Green cards may be used Indians as the only other country backlogged right now is China. It would be interesting to see how USCIS divides them among Indian and China.
Earlier, the department of state replied to a question about EB3 India dates progress in Oct 2021 bulletin and confirmed that they may wait until November 2021 visa bulletin to see if this law is passed to make adjustments to the visa bulletin movement.
This is a screenshot of the discussion happening on Charles Oppenheim’s Aug bulletin YouTube video.
The DOS is referring to the House committee appropriations bill which was passed by voice vote earlier in July.
Senate is still divided on the immigration part of the BBB Act and will pose a challenge. The chances of passing in the Senate with the same provisions as passed by the House are still low at about 35%.
The Democrat Senator Menendez has also clearly said that they will not help the legal green card backlogs until and unless undocumented people also get green cards. This is in stark contrast to DACA where they explicitly kept the legal dreamers out of the bill. At that time, they never bothered to add the legal conditions!
It would be interesting to see what proposal it is when the democrats are clear that they won’t let anything pass until they can get undocumented as part of the deal.