On July 10, 2019, the House of Representatives passed by a 365-65  margin HR 1044 which would eliminate per-country quotas for employment-based green card categories and raise the quotas from 7% to 15% in the family categories.

The bill is highly similar to S. 386 in the Senate except that there are transition rules for the EB-5 category in the House bill, but no transition provisions in the Senate bill. Also, and this has been a point of controversy, there are H-1B program changes that were added at the last minute to the Senate bill. That language is not yet available.

 

Section by Section Summary of HR 1044 – The “Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act of 2019”

Section 1. Short Title

The Act is called the “Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act of 2019.”

Section 2. Numerical limitation to any single foreign state

The previous version of INA Section 202(a) imposed 7% per country quota limits on employment and family categories. The new language removes the employment limits and raises the per-country quotas for family categories to 15%.

INA Section 202(a)(5) is removed.  This provision covers how leftover employment-based green card numbers are to be reallocated to per-country backlogs. That is not necessary when per country quotas no longer exist.

INA Section 202(e), covering rules for countries at the ceiling, is amended to remove provisions relating to employment-based quotas and is now written to apply to family categories only.

The Chinese Student Protection Act of 1992 had language reducing both family and employment-based per country limits for Chinese nationals to offset green cards provided under the Chinese Student Protection Act. That language is now eliminated.

Effective Date – The changes in the bill shall take effect as if enacted on September 30, 2019 and shall apply to fiscal years beginning with Fiscal year 2020 (which begins on October 1, 2019).

Transition rules for employment-based immigrants

For Fiscal Year 2020, 15% of EB-2, EB-3 and EB-5 visas shall be allocated to immigrants who are natives of states that are not one of the two states with the largest aggregate number of natives who are beneficiaries for immigrant status in those categories.

For Fiscal Year 2021, 10% of EB-2, EB-3 and EB-5 visas shall be allocated to immigrants who are natives of states that are not one of the two states with the largest aggregate number of natives who are beneficiaries for immigrant status in those categories.

For Fiscal Year 2022, 10% of EB-2, EB-3 and EB-5 visas shall be allocated to immigrants who are natives of states that are not one of the two states with the largest aggregate number of natives who are beneficiaries for immigrant status in those categories.

With respect to the reserved allocations for fiscal years 2020, 2021 and 2022, no more than 25% can go to one country.

With respect to the unreserved number for those three years, no more than 85% can go to one state’s natives.

These limits may be overridden if enforcing them would prevent the maximum number of available green cards from being issued.

Regardless of the provisions in this bill, anyone who has an employment-based immigrant visa petition (I-140 or I-526) approved before the date of enactment of the bill (set at September 30, 2019) will be processed in order as if the law has not passed.

Greg Siskind

Greg Siskind

Greg Siskind is a partner with Siskind Susser, PC - Immigration Lawyers. After graduating from Vanderbilt University, he received his law degree at the University of Chicago. He created the first immigration law web site in 1994 and the first law blog in 1997. He's written four books and currently serves on the board of governors of the American Immigration Lawyers Association. He can be reached by email at gsiskind@visalaw.com.
Greg Siskind
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