Latest Update: October 25, 2019: Right now, Sen. Durbin from IL blocked the bill by saying that he wants to increase the Green card numbers…(Which is not possible in the bill.) . So either Sen. Lee and Sen. Durbin come upon some common ground to pass the bill. Otherwise, it stops here or dead!
H.R.1044 - Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act of 2019 was introduced in the House on February 7, 2019, by Sen. Mike Lee of Utah.
What is HR 1044, or H.R.1044 - Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act of 2019?
H.R. 1044 bill is a modified version of HR 392 Bill from 2017-2018. It is called HR 1044 as its first introduced in the House of Representatives. It was introduced to eliminate the per-country numerical limit for employment-based immigrant visas.
Let’s discuss all the critical points of this bill.
1. Eliminate per-country limit for Employment-based petitions.
Every year, as per INA total of 140,000 petitions is allocated for the employment-based green cards. According to the current rule, there is a limit of 7% i.e 9800 green cards per country for employment-based petitions. Out of those 9800, if 1 applicant files for the employment-based green card who has 3 dependents then from 9800 green cards his family gets 4 green cards.
Employment-based green card has three categories EB1, EB2, EB3. These categories get an equal amount of green cards i.e 9800 gets divided equally into these 3 categories (3266 each ). However, EB1 has the highest priority than EB2 & EB3.
Most of the applicants in these categories are from India and China. Several students come from these countries to do their master’s degree in computer science. After completing their degree, multinationals hire them and apply for their work permit via an H1-B visa. The H1-B visa has 6 years of limit unless you have applied for a green card and have I-140 approved.
If someone living in any country for 6 years, it feels like home as you invest a lot in that country. People buy houses, cars and pay taxes, etc and you get used to that place. Then it’s tough for anyone to leave that place, friends, and neighbors. Due to which people love to file their green cards.
Approx, 35000 students apply for H1-B visas and multinationals use H1-B visas directly. Every year a total of 85000 H1-B visas get allocated, and from those 85000 almost 65% is applied by Indians. Indians love to work in IT and they complete the demand of the US IT industry.
65% of 85000 visas means 55,250 visa applicants have applied for their Green Cards with a quota of 9800 per year. In order to explain in detail, let's take an example if an applicant from 55,250 has dependents (wife & kid) then that applicant only takes 3 green cards from 9800. Now if all applicants have 2 dependents then 55,250 x 3 = 165,750 applicants per year on an average applied for green cards from 2009 to 2019. Hence,1,65,7500 applicants are waiting for the green card from the last 10 years, and 98,000 Green cards have been already given.
1,65,7500 - 98000 = 1,559,500 people are waiting right now. Due to which dates never changed from the last 10 years. Now, you can imagine why this rule is really important to get passed.
2. Increase the per-country limit for family-sponsored petitions:
Right now, family-sponsored green cards are 7%, and if this bill gets approved then it will increase to 15% per country. It will not affect significantly but will help ordinary class people also.
3. Transition Rules for Employment-Based Petitions from FY 2020 to FY 2022:
House of representatives introduced some rules to restrict all the green cards to go to one country. They have introduced a few rules for the first 3 years.
USCIS Year starts October 1
For the Fiscal Year, 2020 (Oct 2019 - Sept 2020) - First, 15% of the employment-based green cards should be allocated to the immigrants who are not from India and China. Remaining 85% green cards can be distributed to everyone in line including India and China.
For the Fiscal Year, 2020 (Oct 2020 - Sept 2021) - First, 10% of the employment-based green cards should be allocated to the immigrants who are not from India and China. Remaining 85% green cards can be distributed to everyone in line including India and China.
For the Fiscal Year, 2021 (Oct 2021 - Sept 2022) - First 10% of the employment-based green cards should be allocated to the immigrants who are not from India and China. Remaining 85% green cards can be distributed to everyone in line including India and China.
For the Fiscal Year 2022 (Oct 2022 - Sept 2023) - No reserved quota for any immigrant for employment-based green cards.
There are three categories per Country levels in the Transition Rules for Employment-Based from Facial Year 2020 to Facial Year 2022, which are Reserved GCs, Unreserved GC’s, & Unused GC’s.
Reserved GC’s: As mentioned above, in FY 2020 total 15% and in FY 2021 & 2022 total 10% for any Non-major state (non-major states are not independent counties, but dependent colonies like French Polynesia in France. For more information, please check this link State.gov – Dependent areas )
You can take this way that any country other than China and India can’t take more than 25% of the total reserved green cards.
UnReserved GC’s: If this rule gets implemented, during the time of transition FY 2020 to 2022, all the un-reserved green cards which are 85% in 2020, 90% in 2021 and 2022 shall not be given to any single country. India and China can take a maximum of 85% of the unreserved green cards in 2020 and 90% of the unreserved green cards in 2021 and 2022.
From 2023, year onwards, there will not be restrictions on any country, but the good thing is that by that time, no more backlog will be there.
Unused GCs: At the time of transition from FY 2020 to FY 2022 for any reason, if any green cards will be left, then those green cards should be allocated to remaining ones in the line without any restrictions.
4. For Approved I-140 Beneficiaries inline
If you already have approved I-140, then there is also a clause for you. People who already have approved I-140, then the priority will be given to you after this bill is passed. The intent of this bill is not to harm the people already standing in line. However, the goal is to add this clause to the bill. If someone gets I-140 after the bill is passed, then he or she should not get ahead of the line from the people who are already waiting for the last decade.
To check the actual bill please check this link Official HR 1044 bill text on Congress.gov
Previous Updates of HR 1044 Bill
October 24, 2019: In Senate Judiciary Committee, a brief discussion brought up on S386 /H.R. 1044 that there are few concerns from Sen Durbin on this immigration bill. No actual hearing took place at that moment. Senate Judiciary Committee said there will bring S386 /H.R. 1044 in future to sort all the differences. You can Watch Senate Video Recording - Forward it to 24th Minute and listen.
October 23, 2019: Today Charles Kuk wrote a tweet that there will be voting tomorrow on S386 /H.R. 1044 but then he corrected it that there is no vote on S386 /H.R. 1044.
October 1, 2019: Currently, Sen.Durbin from IL blocked the bill by saying that he wants to increase the Green card numbers (Which is not possible in the bill.). Either Sen. Lee and Sen.Durbin come upon some common ground to pass the bill, otherwise, it will stop here considered to be dead.
September 26, 2019: HR 1044 was not brought to the floor for voting because Senator Dick Durbin would raise the concern about this bill. Sen. Lee already knew that he would get the objection from Sen. Durbin that’s why he doesn’t want to bring the bill to the floor for voting.
September 25, 2019: Sen. Mike Lee has given the updates that he and Sen. David Purdue from Georgia come up with an agreement over the bill.
September 19, 2019: H.R.1044 bill was brought to the Senate floor for Unanimous Consent by Sen. Mike Lee. Republican Sen Davide Perdue of Georgia objected it.
Reasons for Objection: Language needs to be clarified, and some concerns on specific industries in his state of Georgia. He did say that he is interested in this bill, and he will work with Sen. Lee over the weekend. He will present the bill again for Unanimous Consent in the Senate next week.
September 18, 2019(Official): H.R.1044 Bill amends with S386 and updated Officially in Congressional records.
September 17, 2019(Unofficial): Sen Paul agreed not to hold the bill only on the condition to compromise to set aside 5000 green cards every year for Nurses for the next 9 years.
July 11, 2019: H.R.1044 was received in the Senate, it had been read twice and referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee.
July 10, 2019: Bill H.R. 1044 passed in the House on July 10, 2019, with the vast majority of 365 to 65.
What will Happens Next?
The next step depends on Sen. Durbin and Sen. Lee if they come to common grounds then the bill will go for voting in the Senate. If voting happens and the vote goes in favor of this bill, then this bill sends back to the house for more changes, then it will be presented to the president of the United States.