Several bills have been recently proposed in Congress to address some of the challenges employers and employees face in terms of high-skilled immigration. Backlogs in the permanent residence (green card) process and difficulties procuring work visas for professional employees create significant stress and uncertainty for U.S. businesses in a competitive labor market.
One critical challenge is the significant backlog in the permanent residence process, which continues to grow. There are 140,000 immigrant visas available for employment-based applicants each year. However, these 140,000 visas are subject to a country cap that states no more than seven percent of the 140,000 available immigrant visas may go to immigrants from any one country. This cap does not consider the fact that demand from each country for employment-based visas is not equal. Largely because of the cap, individuals from countries for which demand for employment-based immigrant visas is higher — such as India and China — face extreme backlogs when seeking to become permanent residents in the U.S. These backlogs not only impact individuals and their families, but also impact their employers who are sponsoring them through the permanent residence process. There are currently over one million people affected by this backlog, putting strain on employers who must continue to sponsor and extend the temporary work authorization of individuals who cannot finalize their permanent residence processes due to the delays caused by the backlog.
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