In bid to reduce Green Card backlog, Congressman Krishnamoorthi, Rep. Jayapal introduce bipartisan bill


Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal. Photo Twitter @RepJayapal

Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi, ranking member of the House Select Committee on the Strategic Competition Between the United States and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), introduced H.R. 6542, the bipartisan Immigration Visa Efficiency and Security Act of 2023 on December 1. He partnered with U.S. Reps Rich McCormick, R-Georgia, and Pramila Jayapal, D-Washington for the initiative.

The legislation holds the promise of strengthening the U.S. economy and boost its international competitiveness while reducing the green card backlog by allowing American employers to focus on hiring immigrants based on their merit, not their birthplace, a press release from Krishnamoorthi’s office said.

The bill would phase out the existing 7% per-country limit on employment-based immigrant visas, while increasing the 7% per-country limit on family-sponsored visas to 15%.

“As we work to build the economy of the future, we cannot allow high-skilled workers to languish in the green card backlog, left unable to fully establish themselves as Americans and contribute more fully to our nation,” Krishnamoorthi said in a statement. “I am proud to partner with my colleagues on our bipartisan legislation to end country-based discrimination for employment-based immigrant visas to reduce visa backlogs while strengthening our economy and our workforce.”

Below is background Information provided by Krishnamoorthi’s office on H.R. 6542: The Bipartisan Immigration Visa Efficiency and Security Act of 2023

The employment-based visa system provides permanent residence (or “green cards”) to individuals whose work contributes to U.S. economic growth and enhances our competitive advantage. To qualify, a sponsoring employer generally must advertise and prove that they are unable to find a qualified U.S. worker to fill the position. Thus, although America’s employment-based visa system starts out as “merit based,” what happens next has nothing to do with merit or skills—visas are allocated based on the intending immigrant’s country of birth.

Approximately 95% of employment-based immigrants currently live and work in the United States on temporary visas while waiting for a visa to become available. Some of these individuals remain in temporary status for many years, if not decades, because of the caps applied to their country of nationality. The new, phased-in system, established in the bipartisan EAGLE Act, would help ease the backlog for those who wait the longest.

Like the Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act that passed the House in July 2019, the bill:

  • phases out the 7% per-country cap for employment-based immigrant visas; and
  • raises the 7% per-country limit on family-sponsored visas to 15%.

Like the version of the Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act that passed the Senate in December 2020, the bill:

  • includes a longer nine-year transition period to ensure that no countries are excluded from receiving visas while the per-country caps are phased out;
  • strengthens the H-1B temporary visa program; and
  • provides an option for individuals who have been waiting in the immigrant visa backlog for two years to file a green card application, although the application cannot be approved until a visa becomes available.


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