Key points of the bill as applied to employment-based immigration:
- Increases the number of visas from 140,000 annually to 170,000
- The 30,000 increase is focused on EB-3, Other Worker Classification
- Spouses and minor children of employment-based immigrants will be exempted from the 140,000 annual cap, allowing all the slots to be used for employment-based applicants
- Allowing all foreign students who earn PhD’s in the U.S. to receive green cards via a pilot program that allows cities or counties facing population loss to sponsor immigrants who will relocate there
- Provides visas to any eligible immigrant who has been waiting 10 years or more because of annual caps and country limits that restrict entry for certain family members, such as adult children or siblings, of U.S. citizens
- Eliminates employment-based per country limits
A summary of the 353-page legislation follows.
This bill strikes the term “alien” and replaces it with “noncitizen” in federal law. Noncitizen is defined as any person not a citizen or national of the U.S. Sec. 3 (c).
The bill amends the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) by inserting Sec. 245B, Adjustment of Status of eligible entrants to that of Lawful Prospective Immigrant (LPI) where the Secretary may grant LPI status to a noncitizen who (1) satisfies the eligibility requirements set forth in Sec. 245G(b), including all criminal and national security background checks and the payment of all applicable fees; and (2) submits an application pursuant to procedures under Sec. 245G(b)(1).The requirement of 245B(a) shall not apply to Spouses and Children of a noncitizen who satisfies all requirements of that subsection.
LPI shall remain valid for 6 years, unless revoked, and may be extended for additional 6-year terms if (A) the noncitizen remains eligible for LPI status, (B) has successfully passed the background checks, and (C) such status was not revoked by the Secretary. A noncitizen granted LPI status shall be considered lawfully present while such noncitizens remains in such status, except that the noncitizen (A) is not entitled to premium assistance tax credit authorized under Sec. 36B of the IRC for their health insurance coverage; (B) shall be subject to the rules applicable to individuals not lawfully present that are set forth in subsection (e) of that section; (C) shall be subject to the rules applicable to individuals not lawfully present as set forth in Sec. 1402(e) of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act; and (D) shall be subject to the rules applicable to individuals not lawfully present set forth in Sec. 5000A(d)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.
The LPI shall be eligible for coverage under a qualified health patient consistent with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act; be authorized to be employed in the U.S. while in such status; may travel outside the U.S. and be admitted, if otherwise admissible, if the absence does not exceed 180 days in the aggregate, with limited exceptions.
The LPI shall be eligible for a Social Security number and card.
Sec. 1102–Adjustment of Status of LPI
The proposed bill amends the INA by the insertion of a new Sec. 245C where the LPI may adjust status to that of a lawful permanent resident if the LPI (1) satisfies the eligibility requirements set for in Sec. 245G(b), (1) including all criminal and national security background checks and payment of all applicable fees; (3) has been under LPI status for not less than 5 years; (4) remains eligible for such status; (5) has not been continuously absent from the U.S. for more than 180 days in any calendar year while under LPI status;; and (6) has satisfied any applicable federal tax liability.
Sec. 3101–Recapture of Immigrant Visas Lost to Bureaucratic Delay
Family-based immigrants for a fiscal year is increased to 480,000. Employment-based immigrants for a fiscal year is increased to 170,000.
Sec. 3103–Adjustment of Family-Sponsored Per-Country Limits
The INA Sec. 202(a) is amended so that the total number of immigrant visas made available to natives of any single foreign state or dependent area is amended from 7 percent (in the case of a single foreign state) or 2 percent (in the case of a dependent area) to 20 percent and 5 percent in any fiscal year.
Sec. 3104–Promoting Family Unity
Repeals the 3-year and 10-year bars for visa overstay. Misrepresentation of citizen by a noncitizen under the age of 21 shall not be considered to be inadmissible or removable under any provision in Sec. 212(a)(6)(C) based on such misrepresentation.
Sec. 3108–Retention of Priority Dates
If the age of the noncitizen is determined to be 21 years or older and the parent of the noncitizen files a family-based petition for such noncitizen, the priority date for such petition shall be the original priority date issued upon receipt of the original family-based or employment-based petition for which either parent was a beneficiary. The priority date for any family-based or employment-based petition shall be the date of filing of the petition, unless the filing of the petition was preceded by the filing of a labor certification with the Department of Labor, in which case that date shall constitute the priority date. The beneficiary of any petition shall retain their earliest priority date based on any petition filed on his or her behalf that was approvable on the date on which it was filed, regardless of the category of subsequent petitions.
Sec. 3401–Doctoral STEM Graduates from Accredited U.S. Universities
The bill amends the INA by the addition of the following: “Noncitizens who have earned a doctoral degree in the field of science, technology, engineering, or mathematics from an accredited U.S. institution of higher education.” The term “field of science, technology, engineering, or mathematics” is defined as (A) a field included in the Department of Education’s Classification of Instructional Programs taxonomy within the summary groups of computer and information sciences and support services, engineering, mathematics and statistics, physical sciences, and the summary group subsets of accounting and related services and taxation; and “may include, at the discretion of the Secretary of Homeland Security, other fields not specifically referred to in subparagraph (A) if the accredited U.S. institution of higher education verifies that the core curriculum for the specific field is primarily based in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.”
Sec. 3402–Addressing Visa Backlogs
INA Sec. 201(b)(1) is amended by the addition of the following: (H) Noncitizens who are beneficiaries (including derivative beneficiaries) of an approved immigrant petition bearing a priority date that is more than 10 years before the noncitizen’s application for admission as an immigrant or for adjustment of status are not subject to direct numerical limitations. (I)(b) The amendments made by this section shall take effect 60 days after the date of the enactment of this Act.
Sec. 3403–Eliminating Employment-Based Per Country Levels
The bill amends INA Sec. 204 as follows: “If the total number of immigrant visas made available to natives of any single foreign state or dependent area is expected to exceed the numerical limitation specified in Sec. 203(a)(2) of the INA in any fiscal year, immigrant visas to natives of that state or area under Sec. 203(a) shall be allocated (to the extent practicable and otherwise consistent with this section and Sec. 203) so that, except as proved in Sec. 203(a)(4), the proportion of the visa numbers made available under Sec. 203(a)(1)-(4) is equal to the ratio of the total number of visas made available under the respective paragraph to the total number of visas made available under Sec. 203(a).” The amendment shall apply starting Fiscal Year 2022.
Sec. 3404–Increased Immigrant Visas for Other Workers
The additional immigrant visas articulated in Sec. 3101 is allocated to the EB-3 Other Worker Classification, while reducing the percent for EB-1 and EB-2 to 23.55 percent of such worldwide level.