More Indians Can Get Green Card Under ‘Build America’ Visa: Family Ties Out, Skills In

Build America will help more skilled Indians to get Green Card
Build America will help more skilled Indians to get Green Card

US President Donald Trump has proposed and pitched for a revolutionary Green Card approval mechanism, which focusses on skills, age and qualification, rather than family ties.

This can drastically boost chances for Indians, who are skilled and wish to relocate to the US for job or business.

However, it can prove disastrous for 3.5 lakh Indians are still waiting to get their green card processed.

Now, the question: Will this new visa regime come into force?

President Trump Pitches For Build America Visa Program

US President Donald Trump has proposed a new visa system, called Build America, which will replace the current green card visa process.

If approved, this new visa program will increase the share of merit-based and points based visa from the current 12% to a whopping 57%.

In layman terms, this means that applicants who score more points in terms of education, skills, age and experience of a job will get more leverage than those who are applying for a visa based on family ties and diversity.

A lot of Indians can get the benefit due to this new Build America visa program if its get approved in the US.

While addressing this major immigration change in the White House, President Trump said, “We cherish the open door that we want to create for our country, but a big proportion of those immigrants must come in through merit and skill.”

Current Green Card System: Family Ties, Diversity More Important Than Skills

The US issues 1.1 million green cards every year to foreign nationals, which gives them lifetime permission to live and work in the US. And after 5 years of getting the green card, the person can apply for citizenship which makes them part of the country.

Out of this 1.1 million green cards issued, 66% goes to the relatives of existing green card holders and foreign nationals, who have become US citizens.

21% goes to asylum seekers, who are randomly picked via lottery, and only 12% goes to the applicants, who are seeking visa via employment.

Hence, family ties and diversity of the applicant is currently more important than skills and experience of the applicant.

While pitching for the new visa regime based on skills, President Trump opposed this ‘random’ nature of green card allocation, based on family ties.

He said, “Instead of admitting people through random chance, we will establish simple, universal criteria for admission to the United States. No matter where in the world you’re born, no matter who your relatives are, if you want to become an American citizen, it will be clear exactly what standard we ask you to achieve. It will be made crystal clear,”

But This Can Be Disastrous For 500,000 Indians

At the same time, this new green card process (if approved), can prove to be a disaster for some Indians, who are already waiting for their approval for years.

As of now, there are 261,765 Indians who are waiting for their green cards based on family ties, and 306,601 who are waiting for a green card based on employment.

This number can increase if we consider the dependents as well.

Now, in case the new visa regime comes into force, then all these applicants, especially those who are waiting via family ties option, will need to restart their application from scratch.

Doug Rand, a former Obama White House official who is now running an immigration services, said, “Although superficially beneficial for immigrants with more education and skills, this proposal could be disastrous for H-1B workers, most of whom are from India.”

However, the plan may take some time to get implemented.

Democrats, who control the House of Representatives, have firmly opposed the plan, and Republicans, led by President Trump will have to fight the opposition really hard.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said, This dead-on-arrival plan is not a remotely serious proposal,”

We will keep you updated, as more details come in.

Image Source: The Wall Street Journal

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