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Senate Immigration Bill – Legal Immigration and Merit Based Visa

The Senate immigration bill named “Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013″, includes a lot of provisions and goals for border security. Likewise, the bill contains a pathway to US citizenship but the undocumented immigrants may not be permitted to apply for US citizenship, immediately and they must apply for adjustment of status and obtain Registered Provisional Immigrant Status and then obtain lawful permanent resident status and this process will take years to complete. At present, there are four family preference categories and US citizens can sponsor their relatives under one of those four categories and around 480,000 visas are being granted every year to people who belong to family preference categories. According to the new bill, family members will be granted visas only under two family preference categories and the two new categories will cover unmarried adult children, married adult children who file applications for immigrant visas before they turn 31 and unmarried adult children of Green Card holders.

Likewise, the V visa category will be expanded and individuals whose family petitions are approved will be permitted to live in the country. Certain categories of family members will be permitted to visit the country for around 3 months, per year but if this bill is passed, US citizens may not be permitted to sponsor their siblings for US Green Cards. The bill will also eliminate the Diversity Visa lottery program and only the individuals who were selected and the ones who will be selected for the fiscal years 2013 and 2014, alone will be granted diversity immigrant visas through this program. Likewise, people of extraordinary ability, outstanding professors and researchers, multinational administrators, doctoral degree holders, certain physicians and derivatives of employment-based immigrants, will be exempt from the annual limits.

The Senate immigration bill will allocate 40 percent of the employment-based visas to people who hold advanced degrees, foreign nationals who have earned master’s degrees in STEM fields in America and foreign nationals who have employment offers in related fields. The percentage of employment based visas for professionals and skilled workers will be increased and the bill will create a startup visa category for foreign entrepreneurs who seek to start their own companies in America. The bill will also create a merit based visa system. Five years after the enactment of the bill, points will be awarded to foreign nationals based on their employment, education and their length of residence in America and the foreign nationals who secure more points will get visas. 120,000 visas will be made available in this category, every year and talented individuals and people who have their family members in the United States will be granted access to the merit based pathway.

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