Advantage India as US debates Bill on 3.8 L unused visas

In a major boost to a large number of Indians, a group of influential lawmakers have introduced a bill in US Congress to recapture nearly 3,80,000 unused family and employment-based visas, seeking to reduce a massive Green Card backlog, particularly affecting immigrants from countries like India and China.
Representative image
Representative image

WASHINGTON: The Jumpstart our Legal Immigration System Act, introduced by House Immigration and Citizenship Subcommittee Chair Zoe Lofgren, proposes to recapture about 2,22,000 unused family-sponsored visas and about 1,57,000 employment-based visas.

Among other things, it would allow immigrant US residents eligible for adjustment to Legal Permanent Residence (LPR) status to apply for adjustment after paying a fee but are not able to do so presently due to the lack of an available visa number. The move will allow individuals (from countries like India) to receive work authorisation while they wait for a visa number to become available and will prevent dependent children from “ageing out” of eligibility for the LPR status.

The legislation also seeks to allow immigrants who are in the US to receive an exemption from the immigrant visa numerical limits and adjust their status to a green card if their immigrant visa petition has been approved for two years and they pay a supplemental fee.

The H-1B visa, the most sought after among Indian IT professionals, is a non-immigrant visa that allows US companies to employ foreign workers in speciality occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise.

Automatic right to H-4 visa holders

Another bill by two US lawmakers has sought to grant an automatic right to H-4 visa holders to work in the country, a move that will benefit the spouses of thousands of foreigners, including Indians, and also address the labour shortage affecting American businesses. H-4 visas are issued to dependent spouses and children who accompany H-1B, H-2A, H-2B, and H-3 visa holders to the United States.

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