United States Senate Passes the Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act of 2020

On December 2nd, 2020, the United States Senate passed the Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act of 2020. It represents the biggest legislative step yet in what has been a winding road for the proposed reform. If signed into law, the bill would eliminate national origin caps for employment visas, potentially reducing backlogs and wait times for some visa applicants. In this article, our Los Angeles immigration attorney discusses some key things to know about the law.

Three Things to Know About the Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act

The Law Would Eliminate the Seven Percent Employment Visa Country Cap

Under current federal immigration regulations, there are strict national origin-based caps on employment visas. No country can take up more than seven percent of all work visas issued in a given year. A consequence of the existing system is that work visa applicants from some countries—most notably, China and India—face a massive backlog. The Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act would remove the national origin cap, helping to potentially reduce these backlogs.

Some Objections are Being Raised to Aspects of the Bill

The law is not necessarily good news for all applicants. While the elimination of the national origin cap would help those in China, India, and any other country subject to that restriction, it could actually increase wait times in some other countries. Indeed, some senators from states with larger Latin American populations have raised concerns about this issue.

In addition, some unfortunate language was added to the bill shortly before passage in the Senate. Recently, the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) came out in opposition to a section of the bill that bars many Chinese nationals from becoming American citizens or lawful permanent residents. The AILA decries that provision as “xenophobic and exclusionary.” The AILA wants the language to be removed from the final version of the law.

The Bill is Has a Good Chance to Become Law—But Obstacles Remain

Even though the Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act of 2020 passed the Senate, the bill still needs to overcome some obstacles before it becomes law. The version of the legislation voted on by the Senate differs significantly from the version approved by the House of Representatives in the summer of 2019. As such, the two versions of the bill will need to be reconciled before moving forward. Notably, the incoming Biden Administration is expected to approve of the reform. In fact, Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris was one of the lead sponsors of the bill in the Senate.

Schedule a Confidential Consultation With a Los Angeles Employment Visa Lawyer

At Goldstein Immigration Lawyers, our California immigration attorney has the skills and knowledge to handle the full range of employment visa matters. If you have questions about your legal rights or immigration options, we are here to help you navigate the application process. Call our Los Angeles law office now to arrange a fully private review of your case.

Josh Goldstein
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