Senate Passes Bill to End Per Country Cap on Immigration
In a developing story out of the U.S. Congress, the Senate has passed S. 386 by unanimous consent. This bill would end the per country 7% cap on employment-based immigration, which currently limits the maximum number of green cards issued to individuals of any one nation to 7% of the total number of immigrant visas issued. In effect, the current system has resulted in a dramatic backlog of applications from Indian nationals, who make up around half of the skilled employer-sponsored applicants.
As a result of this continued inequity, Senators such as Dick Durbin (IL), Rick Scott (FL), and Mike Lee (UT) have focused on reaching a compromise to reform the current per country cap system. After a lengthy negotiation, the Senate has finally agreed on a compromise regarding this reform bill and passed S. 386. This proposed bill, which still needs to be reconciled with the existing House bill (H.R. 1044) and be signed into law by the President, will slowly phase out the per-country cap and would go into effect on October 1, 2022. This phase out period would last 11 years and reserve a proportion of available immigrant visas to immigrants not from China and India throughout this period.
Notably, this bill includes language prohibiting the adjustment of status of any alien affiliated with the military forces of the People’s Republic of China or the Chinese Communist Party. While it is unclear how this prohibition would be interpreted by the USCIS, it appears that such language would bar any individual affiliated with the CCP or Chinese military from filing a successful I-485 application. This would, in effect, require all such applicants to file their green card applications via Immigrant Visa Processing outside of the United States, a dramatic departure from current U.S. immigration policy.
Our office will continue to monitor the progress of this bill, which could be fast tracked into law via inclusion in mandatory spending bills expected to be passed in the coming weeks. Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions regarding how this bill may impact your immigration process, we are here to help!