Update Sep 24, 2021: Apple CEO Tim Cook has added his support for the high skilled community by writing to Mayorkas to avoid the wastage of 80K green cards by Sep 30.
The letter has been floating around social media and seems like it has been genuinely written by Tim Cook. Google and Microsoft have also put their weight on this demand and are concerned that their employees face another daunting decade-long wait if these numbers are wasted by USCIS.
It is good that such reputed companies are asking for fair treatment of backlogged workers who have waited patiently for a whole decade to see this day.
Greg Siskind added his comment by asking Google and Microsoft to ask president Joe Biden to not fight the pending USCIS green card wastage lawsuit in Maryland court.
It is not clear that USCIS is even doing anything at their level as their replies in the court cases were about patting their own back on how they have processed more GCs than a normal year. They told the court that the wastage of GC numbers is normal and it happens every year.
David Bier has been quoted by Axios to mention this as an unfair treatment for high tax-paying immigrant workers.
This article will discuss:
- Senate Parliamentarian Rejects Proposal
- House Committee Passed Immigration Proposal
- #1 Green Card Recapture & No Dependent Counting
- #2 File i485 without Date being Current
- #3 Essential Workers
- #4 Dreamers H4, L2 Kids
- #5 No Wastage of Green Card Numbers
- Visa Bulletin
Senate Parliamentarian Rejects Proposal
Update Sep 19, 2021: Politico reports that Senate parliamentarian has rejected democrats proposal to include immigration benefits as part of the budget bill.
This probably puts an end to all the hopes of seeing any changes in the outdated immigration system.
It will be interesting to see how Democrats try and take their ambitious immigration plan forward now.
Indians were also hoping to see the daylight with the proposal of paying 5k and getting rid of unending wait for their priority date to get current. The hopes may end with this rejection.
House Committee Passed Immigration Proposal
Earlier on Sep 16, 2021, Greg Siskind reported that the House Judiciary Committee passed this bill language as summarized below. This is good news as one major hurdle has passed.
- House Voting: The next step is a vote in the House.
- 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. If they do, this bill will give the chance to get Green card for backlogged Indian and Chinese for next 10 years (until 2031) after which these clauses will expire and all the queues will start backlogging again.
- President Sign: The bill has the target date of Sep 27-30 and if everything goes right, meaning passed by both House and Senate, it may become law by Sep 30. The earliest activation date will be May 1, 2022.
As per the current version of the House bill’s draft 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: 1 May 2022
#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.
Chances of passing?
Although we would like to see this happen, the chances are low (about 30%) 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.
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.