Senate passes bill to remove per-country caps on green cards

3 Dec 20

UNITED STATES

The U.S. Senate passed a bill Wednesday that would remove the 7% per-country caps on employment-based green cards. The Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act, S.386/H.R.1044, passed by unanimous consent.

Key Points:

  • This is the Senate version of the bill that passed the House in July 2019 with bipartisan support by a vote of 365-65.
  • There are differences between the Senate and House versions that must be resolved before the bill can be sent to the president for signature.
  • Amendments to the Senate version include a provision that limits the percentage of green cards that may be issued to H-1B and H-4 visa holders. The bill also contains H-1B enforcement and oversight provisions.

BAL Analysis: The Senate’s passage of the bill is an encouraging step toward providing relief to individuals stuck in the green card backlog. Multiple changes have been made to the bill since it passed the House, however, and the chambers must reconcile those differences before the bill goes to the president. It is not yet clear whether President Trump would sign the bill into law, as the White House has previously expressed opposition to the concept of removing per-country caps and anti-immigration groups are publicly opposing the bill.

This alert has been provided by the BAL U.S. Practice group. For additional information, please contact berryapplemanleiden@balglobal.com.

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