The US President, Donald Trump, announced a new immigration plan and green card system which is based on merit. It is important to note that he started his presidential campaign in 2015 saying that Mexico is not sending the best people to America and he indented to change that. Four years later, he has put forward a plan to select the best immigrants from other countries.
Below listed are the key highlights of the merit based immigration and green card system which is being termed- Build America Visa.
Merit Based Immigration And Green Card System Focus On And Skill
According to Trump, the new immigration plan is all about bringing a system that focuses on merit. The proposed plan stresses on bringing immigrants with specific professional skills and education. Trump’s new immigration and green card plan intend to replace existing immigration laws that favor family over merit.
Under the new system, Trump said that immigrants will be rated based on their age, educational qualification, English skills, and offers of jobs. “You will get more points for being a younger worker, meaning you will contribute more to our social safety net. You will get more points for having a valuable skill and offer of employment and advanced education or a plan to create jobs” said Trump during the announcement.
Once the new plan is implemented there will be an increase in skill based immigration from the current 12% to 57% according to the President.
The Merit Based Immigration And Green Card System – Build America Visa
The new immigration plan is termed as Build America Visa and Trump said that under the new system higher wage workers will be given priority in order to ensure that American labor force will not be undercut or crippled. Immigrants have to be financially self-sufficient. In order to promote national unity, immigrants must be proficient in English and pass a civics exam prior to admission.
Trump’s Merit Based Immigration And Green Card System – What Happens To The Country Cap
Under the new system, there will no longer be per-country limits. Immigrants waiting for green cards would have to apply for permanent residence under the point or merit system which might throw around 4 million applicants off the existing immigrant waiting lists.
The major legislation that changed the American greed card system came into existence in 1990. The Immigration Act of 1990 brought in the existing 65,000 H-1B visas a year (with some exemptions) as well as the annual 140,000 employment-based green cards and per-country limits
The Existing Green Card Backlog
Around 4 million individuals and families are in waiting to get a green card. Mexico, India, China, Philippines, Vietnam are the leading countries in the family backlogs. As of November 1, 2018, according to U.S. Department of State the waiting list for green cards is as follows:
- More than 3.6 million individuals in family-based immigration
- Approximately 2.2 million in the category for siblings of the US citizens
- About 950,000 in the waiting list are the adult children of the US citizens
- Around 470,000 in the waiting list are minor, spouses or adult unmarried children of lawful permanent residents
Trump’s Point Based Immigration And Green Card System, And The Indian Skilled Workers
The new plan if turned into law might have a significant impact on Indian skilled workers. In the 2018 fiscal year, over 70% of H1B visas for skilled workers go to the Indian immigrants. Many of these visas are eventually turned into green cards. During 2015 and 2017 between of 57,000 – 62,000 Indians have got green cards.
However, the Indian skilled migrants might not find the point based immigration and green card system attractive as most of them will not be able to bring their family, especially aging parents, to the USA.
The proposed merit based immigration and green card system, however, doesn’t talk about the undocumented immigrants brought to the country.
The legislative road map of the new merit based green card system is not very bright as no bill can be passed without the support of Democrats.