Current law sets a cap of 140,000 employment-based green cards per year, with no more than 7% from any single country. If passed, the Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act (H.R. 3012) would eliminate the per-country cap for employment-based cases entirely by fiscal year 2015 (through a phase-in process). Because demand for employment-based green cards is highest for applicants from India and China, the per-country cap has meant lengthy delays for applicants born in those two nations. Essentially, the bill would be a major win for applicants from India and China, while negatively impact applicants born in all other countries.
The Act was passed overwhelmingly by the House of Representatives by a vote of 389 to 15 on 11/29/11. The measure now moves on to the Senate for consideration. The Senate must also pass this Act and President Obama must then sign it before it becomes law.
Although the Senate is expected to pass this Act, Senator Grassley (R-IA) placed a hold on the Act yesterday, arguing this bill would negatively impact future immigration flows and strip away protection for Americans who seek high-skilled jobs. Senate procedures allow any member of the Senate to place a "hold" on legislation or nominations in order to delay consideration of the measure or nominee. At this time it is unclear how long Senator Grassley intends to maintain his hold. We will update as soon as more information becomes available.