This bill would eliminate per-country percentage caps in the employment-based green card system and increase the per-country numerical limitation for family-based immigrants from 7% to 15% of the total number of family-sponsored visas. Under current law, the per country caps have created a backlog of would-be immigrants from more populous countries.
- Not enactedThe President has not signed this bill
- The senate has not voted
- The house has not voted
Committee on the JudiciaryIntroducedJanuary 10th, 2017
- house Committees
What is House Bill H.R. 392?
Cost of House Bill H.R. 392
In-Depth: Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) introduced this bill to fairly reward high-skilled workers in countries where they are long visa backlogs:
“I think we’re failing the people trying to come here legally and lawfully. Those are the people that suffer… [and] if you’re from India or China or Mexico, we often bump up against this cap literally within the first few days of a calendar year.”
In July 2017, after Rep. Chaffetz’s retirement, Rep. Kevin Yoder (R-KS) became the bill’s lead sponsor, after previously being an original cosponsor:
“I’ve always said that our nation is a nation of immigrants, as well as a nation of laws. This legislation strikes the perfect balance by achieving significant reforms of our employment-based green card system, helping American companies hire high-skilled immigrants to help grow our economy. Importantly, our bill helps them do it through the proper legal channels – the right way – which are all too often forgotten in debates over border security and illegal immigration. And it helps the many immigrants who are already living and working here on temporary visas obtain permanent residence they’ve earned through hard work and dedication to our country and its values, raising their families and children as Americans right here in our communities.”
This bill has 325 cosponsors, including 174 Democrats and 151 Republicans.
Compete America and FWD.us support this bill. FWD.us’ President, Todd Schulte, said:
“Under the current system, no more than 7 percent of employment-based green cards are conferred to highly-skilled workers from any one country. The proposed bill would make it possible for the United States to continue attracting the best and the brightest scientists, engineers, architects and researchers without discriminating against applicants because of where they were born. H.R. 392 is a sensible step toward building a targeted high-skilled immigration system that will help us win the global race for talent, create millions of American jobs and boost wages for the middle class in the 21st century economy.”
NumbersUSA, the nation’s largest interest group that supports reduced levels of immigration, hasn’t taken a position on this bill’s previous iterations since it will not change overall immigration levels.
An identical version of this bill passed the House during the 112th Congress with a bipartisan vote of 389 to 15. Subsequent versions were introduced in the 113th (HR 633) and 114th (HR 213) Congresses, but didn’t receive a vote.
Of Note: Under the current immigration system, immigrants from any one country can claim no more than 7% of the 140,000 employment-based green cards issued annually to foreign nationals working in the U.S. This significantly disadvantages immigrants from larger countries that more immigrants come from.
For example, China (population 1.3 billion) and India have large backlogs of workers wishing to immigrate to and work in the U.S., but they have the name visa caps as countries such as Iceland or Estonia (population 1.3 million), which have both much smaller populations and far fewer citizens seeking to immigrate to the U.S.
The net effect of this is that immigrants from India and China can face decades-long waits, averaging 2-3 times the wait times for immigrants from other countries, for green cards, and many have to return home because they can’t get permanent residency; meanwhile, countries such as Iceland and Estonia never come close to reaching their visa limit caps.
Summary by Lorelei Yang
(Photo Credit: brazzo / iStock)