House passes Fairness for High Skilled Immigrants Act, H.R. 1044

If enacted, the legislation would eliminate country-wise quota for employment-based green cards, ensuring that people from all countries are treated equally in the green card process.

(This story has been updated.)

There was some mid-week good news in store for all those who had been waiting in long, inexplicable green card lines in the country. Today, the House of Representatives passed the H.R. 1044 or the “Fairness for High Skilled Immigrants Act.”

The bipartisan bill aims to make the employment based green card system in the United States fairer by providing an equal waiting time for people from all nationalities who have applied for permanent residence in the United States.

While the bill still has to be passed by the US Senate, the upper house and awaits a signature from the president before it can become a law, for many immigration activists, today’s win gives hope.

RELATED: The newly passed H.R.1044 raises caps for family-based green cards (July 10, 2019)

Rep. Zoe Lofgren, the Democrat who represents California’s 19th congressional district, who has been long campaigning for the bill, along with Rep. Ken Buck, R-CO, was elated about the bill’s passage in the House. He tweeted: “The House passed @RepKenBuck’s and my bipartisan bill to make our visa system fairer for skilled immigrants legally working in the US. #HR1044 has 200+ Dem and 100+ GOP cosponsors. If @POTUS is serious about merit-based legal immigration, he should help usher this bill into law.”

Popularly called the “Green Card Equality Bill” in the immigration reform circuits, it is seen as a positive first step to fix the broken immigration system that has not seen any reform in the past three decades. Many immigration reform activists had been working for decades to pass a bill like this.

RELATED: Waiting for the Wait to End: The human face of Indian immigrants caught in the Green Card backlog (December 4, 2018)

However, experts are aware that the bill still faces many challenges.

Here is the previous report:

There is good news on the immigration legislation front and especially for those who are waiting for green cards. The Democratic House Leadership has called for a vote on H.R. 1044, or “Fairness for High Skilled Immigrants Act” this week.

The bill may be a big deal for people who are stuck in the green card wait for decades. Immigration lawyers say that the bill, which will remove the county limit on green cards, has a fair chance becoming law.

Most experts believe that H.R. 1044, which already has 311 bi-partisan co-sponsors, will sail through the Democratic controlled House. In the 435-member strong House of Representatives, fewer than 220 votes are needed for the passage of the bill. So, that certainly would work in favor of H.R. 1044.

RELATED: Will Trump’s proposed immigration reform benefit Indians? What will be its impact on Green Card backlog? (May 20, 2019)

But it is important to also note the next steps for the bill to become a law. Once the House clears it, H.R. 1044 will be going to be the upper chamber, the Senate, which is controlled by the Republicans, and faces tougher hurdles.

If the Senate passes it, there is another looming question that concerns the bill and it is whether the president would sign it.

Which means the bill has a long way to go.

Main opponents of the bill are groups that are opposed to H-1B, who argue that it is only going to benefit Indian immigrants. However, immigration lawyer Rahul Reddy disputes that notion.

“I believe there is a lot of misinformation on the bill that it would benefit only Indian nationals,” he said. “There is nothing in the bill that would benefit only Indians. If you look at it objectively you will see all that the bill would do is to remove discrimination. The bill does not specify India anywhere. All they are saying is that all nations will be treated equally.”

Reddy recommends the bill’s supporters to contact their congressmen and stress that the it is all about discrimination. “There is a discrimination based on the national origin in the existing law and this new bill H.R. 1044 is taking the discrimination away,” he said.

He added that the bill will create a level-playing field. Of course, those who have been waiting in the line for long will be benefited but it should not matter who they are. It only says that no one should be discriminated based on their country of origin.

RELATED POSTS:

How Netra Chavan channeled her own frustrations to build an H4 and H-1B visa support system (February 14, 2019)

RHC’s H-1B rally demands elimination of Green Card backlog, protection for ‘DALCA’ children (February 10, 2019)

Trump talks about changes in H-1B Visa, including a possible citizenship (January 11, 2019)

Trump’s tweet on H-1B and path to citizenship evokes lukewarm response (January 12, 2019)

Waiting for the Wait to End: The human face of Indian immigrants caught in the Green Card backlog (December 4, 2018)

H-4 and H-1: Time for Indian immigrants to speak up on immigration policy, says author Amy Bhatt (January 5, 2019)

The unstable life of Indians on H-1B visa in the US due to visa renewal policy (October 28, 2016)

High-skilled Indian workers, DALCA kids, rally on Capitol Hill to clear green card backlog (June 15, 2018)

Reverse brain drain – the experience of three couples who moved back to India from the US (January 20, 2014)

19 Comments

  1. what about illegal people getting citizenship faster than legal immigrants, people who are applying legally are suffering due to backlog. Agree that most of them are Indian, well USCIS should stop approving h1b, if that is the case.

  2. They’re flooding the H1B visa now the EB visas..Good luck. United States of America will now be United States of India. Per country cap is fair to all countries. If 1,000,000 Indians applied for EB visas versus only 5000 from Vietnam, the HR 1044 will definitely favor the indians and chinese.

  3. This bill will definately create monopoly on green card for Indians like what Indian did on H1B visa. Implementation of this bill into law will destroy the diversity of emoployment based green card. There will be no employment based green card for anybody except for Indians. Everybody except Indians has to wait for at least 7-10 years to get a green card. This bill will put rubber stamp that green card for Indians first. Very immoral bill.

  4. This whole thing only benefits Indian and is absolutely unfair to the applicants from other nations. The market and companies will soon be dominated by Indian workers if the bill ever got passed. Come on people, is this really the diversity and equality we are hoping to get in this country?

  5. It will only benefit Indian green card applicant. Yes, I admit that this bill did not mention anything about Indian. Indian people currently needs to wait more than 10 years or even 20 years to receive their green card. If this bill passes, they only need to wait 8 years. However, all other countries’ applicants have to wait 8 years just because of this law. The indian people are the only winner because over 70% green card applicant are from India. This is absolutely unfair for people in other country. Even Chinese applicants will wait longer because they only need to wait about 3-5 years right now

  6. I worked in software engineering. I am not racist but cheap Indian labor has already flooded the market. Please check Indians have setup fake tech school some of these have been caught by law enforcement but there are still plenty of these working. Indian IT firms are applying for H1b by showing they are bringing a hi tech worker infact that worker comes and takes training on the job and then replace American worker. Never forget Disney and Edison for outsourcing all their work to H1B .. If this reforms passes, good luck to all the new graduates coming and finding jobs because everywhere will be dominated by Indians which only hires another Indians.

  7. 90% of h visas go to Indian national, in which later on demanding for green cards. So it’s beneficial only to them.

  8. This is a much needed step in the right direction. The 10 plus year wait for a green card for professionals is just way too long and it impacts their ability to invest in the economy as well as multiple decisions related with day to day life and their kids lives. GC waiting time would go up for some individuals, but the increase in their wait times would be much smaller compared to the 10 plus year wait times select nationalities have to go through.

  9. Here is what my opinion about it:
    There’s big misconception about this going on for many.
    1. When people say this will kill american STEM graduate:
    – There are more openings available right now in tech/heath care/medicine industry than available Amercian STEM graduates (including who are not even graduate yet). so this is not correct logic.
    2. When people say this will allow cheaper work force, lower than fed approved minimum wadges:
    – This is exactly the pain point and exploitation h1b visa holders (regardless whatever country they from) facing due to current green card backlog and understand 1 thing, providing wadges are not coming from h1b holders, that is coming from American employers who are taking disadvantages of current broken immigration system which will get fixed by this H.R.1044 bill. So cracking down on big American employers who are offering less than minimum wadges are different than providing green cards to eligible candidates who are not happy with it same as you.
    3. When people say this benefits only Indian- Chinese workers:
    – yes that is correct because only Indian and Chinese workers are high skilled work force available to fulfill current vacancies other than american stem fresh graduates or experienced work force in very high quantities. where’s disagreements in this? So either you stop giving them work permits and run tech/heath care industries without them or give them proper legal residency for paying regular taxes to include them in to mainline economy of this country.
    – Think about 300,00 + non residential tax payers and 300,00+ legal residential tax payers for life time
    4. When people say this will kill diversity of this country:
    – Currently all the diversity that you are talking about also coming from this kind of legal re-formed immigration policies. Rest all, who are not legally entered based on high education/skillsets, are anyways not working as Doctors and Engineers.
    – I’m sure diversity doesn’t mean non-skilled people also getting legal residency just based on country of birth because chances they are involved in crime will be higher than high skilled work force.

    Long story short, whoever are having higher education degree, very high competitive skill-sets, smart and benefit to contribute in America’s economy should be welcomed first than non-competitive. Closing America for rest of the world is anyways not possible unless America itself able to produce 100 times more STEM graduates every year than current rate.

  10. It is clear that this will benefit Indians. Since h1b is already flooded with Indians, now they want to flood Green Card for the namesake of equality.

    • Agreed. This bill benefited Indians because they are highly qualify and they are the only filling most of highly qualify job vacancy. They have rights to get GC ASAP. Either make GC process easy or manage all high qualify jobs without Indians.

      • Don’t be so full of yourself.. I worked with Indians and a lot of them are lazy, power hungry and too proud of themselves. And yup! Indians only hire Indians. Don’t talk like you are the only nation who have loads of very highly skilled people. If that is true India should have been a very progressive country by now. USA is not India so don’t force yourselves.

  11. It doesnt matter what the language of the bill says it just benifits the country which is currently backlogged which is india . Since h1b is not capped most of the h1 b goes to indian companies who applies green cards in bulk . Now you are creating a premenant problem for americans

    • Tara Patil

      I agree. First they come as temp workers then become managers and hire other Indians who are from their states and speak their language. American kids get affected even after getting STEM degrees.

    • FYI: H1B IS CAPPED

    • Do you have any better suggestion than? There should be cap on H1b visas than. This kind of immigration doesn’t make sense where people wait for decades contributing to this country and someone who just lands here becomes a citizen. Even birth right citizenship doesn’t make sense. As visitors and illegals kids are also citizens. What’s their contribution to this country except that they are born here. Family migration what’s their contribution here? Zero. At least H1b holders contribute. Just think few months wait makes one nervous than people from few countries don’t even know what’s their wait time.

    • Totally agree, only India benefit from this Bill. It will take more than 6 years to deal with current backlog for India ONLY. No applicants from other countries including China gets green cards! At that time there will be no diversity of immigrants, only Indian!

    • You would not have said it if it was maximum H1B recipients were from an European country. Early 19th and 20th century . There were hundred million people immigrated from Europe. What about that? Why P wants to promote, Indentured work status and discriminate just based on skin color and country of birth. No god would accept this. Law should be same irrespective of the country of origin . H1B is same for all, all study in US university and all paid equal tax .

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