The US Congress conducts a lottery program every and issue Green Cards to the winners of that program. This program has helped several foreign nationals who do not have sponsors to immigrate to America and pursue their American dream. But the Senate immigration reform bill would put an end to this Green Card lottery program by 2017 and would issue Green Cards based on merit and would create a new merit-based system. According to this bill, foreign nationals would become eligible for immigrant visas through the new system if they earn a minimum of 100 points.
Points would be awarded to the foreign nationals based on their education, employment and length of stay in America and people who get more points would be granted immigrant visas. However, all the foreign nationals may not be granted access to the merit-based pathway and only the highly skilled individuals, foreign nationals in the United States in worker programs and people whose family members are US citizens or Green Card holders, would be awarded points and granted access to the merit-based pathway. The bill would make available 120,000 visas, every year and the foreign nationals who have been living in the United States for more than ten years would become eligible for merit-based visas but the W visa holders may not become eligible for these visas.
Under this new system, 5 points would be allocated to a bachelor’s degree, 10 points to a master’s degree and 15 to a doctorate and points would be awarded based on work experience. Zero to three points would be awarded each year, based on work experience and foreign nationals working in occupations related to their degrees would be awarded 10 points. Likewise, siblings and married children above age 31, of US citizens would be awarded 10 merit points. Moreover, 5 points would be awarded to citizens of under-represented countries. This program would help people who hold bachelor’s degrees and whose employers are not willing to sponsor them for US Green Cards and these points would give them a chance become lawful residents of the country. Around 120,000 Green Cards would be made available by 2017 and if the Senate immigration reform bill is passed, the merit system would be implemented in October 2017.