The Senate bill would change the family based and the employment based immigration system. It would eliminate certain categories and would raise the visa caps for certain categories. It would create a new merit based system and eliminate the backlog in the current family preference system. Moreover, this immigration reform bill would legalize the nation’s undocumented immigrants and grant them US citizenship.
Elimination of the F-4 Preference Category
According to the bill, immigrant visas would not be issued to the siblings of US citizens, under the family preference category. Likewise, it would set a cap for the married children of US citizens, at age 31 and children of US citizens above age 31 would not become eligible for family-based immigrant visas. These changes will take effect, 18 months after the enactment of the bill and until then the US citizens would be permitted to file applications for their siblings.
Visas for Immediate Relatives of Green Card Holders
Spouses and children of permanent residents would not be required to wait for years to obtain immigrant visas and they would be considered as immediate relatives. Currently the spouses and children of Green Card holders wait until visa numbers become available but the Senate bill would help them to get immigrant visas sooner.
Merit-Based Immigrant Visas
The Senate bill would create a new merit based visa and issue visas based on a point system. Factors such as education, employment, etc would be taken into account and eligible foreign nationals would be issued merit based immigrant visas.
Elimination of Green Card Lottery
DV-2014 would be the last Green Card lottery program, if the Senate bill is signed into law. However, eligible winners of DV-2013 and DV-2014, would be issued immigrant visas.
V Visa Program
The V visa program would be expanded and the immediate relatives of US citizens and Green Card holders whose immigrant visa applications are pending would be permitted to travel to the United States. These relatives would be granted authorization to work in the country while waiting for their Green Cards. Apart from that, eligible categories of relatives would be granted non-immigrant visas and permitted to visit the United States temporarily for 60 days, every year.
Same Sex Couples
The Senate bill does not include the Uniting American Families Act and does not contain provisions for same sex couples. US citizens would not be allowed to file petitions for their same sex foreign partners.
W Non-Immigrant Visa Program
Immigration reform bill of the Gang of Eight, would create a new guest worker program, the W visa program for the low skilled workers. It would grant W visas valid for three years to low-skilled foreign workers and would permit them to bring their spouses and children along with them to America. These workers would be required to accept registered positions in the United States.