Eagle Act of US government that could benefit Indian immigrants
What is Eagle Act?
The Eagle Act, also known as the Equal Access to Green Cards for Legal Employment Act of 2022, was introduced in the US House of Representatives by Zoe Lofgren, which seeks to adjust work visa requirements and phase out country-by-country caps. about employment-based green cards.
Know more about laws
The goal of the Eagle Act is to allow US employers to hire international professionals based on their merit, not their country of birth. It abolishes the limited quota allocated to individual countries for work visas, i.e. green cards. This would help ensure that eligible candidates from other countries are not excluded when the Eagle Act takes effect. In the transition period, visas would be set aside for nurses and physiotherapists to meet the demands of the health sector. The visa offers the same provisions for immigrants coming to the US and their family members who are not currently residing in the US.
About the Green Card and its benefit
Officially known as the Permanent Resident Card, the green card issued to immigrants allows them to live and work permanently in the United States. The card serves as proof that the holder has been granted the privilege of permanent residence.
Some of the benefits of a green card are –
- It provides a pathway to citizenship
- A green card holder can sponsor immediate family members for the same card
- It provides easy access to the US social security system as well as educational assistance
- Travel in and out of the country is much easier
- The card holder can choose to live anywhere in the US
- There is more freedom in terms of career opportunities to apply for a wide variety of jobs
- The cardholder can also participate to some extent in the country’s political process.
- Social Security system that is offered by the US government can be easily accessed by this card
- It also provides selective participation in the political activities of the country.
Aims of Eagle Act or H.R. 3648
The Eagle Act of 2022 will also strengthen the H-1B visa program for specialty occupations. This would be achieved by increasing recruitment requirements, strengthening protections for US workers and increasing transparency.
Applicants who have been waiting for their visa application for the last 2 years can apply for a green card. Allows foreign nationals coming to the US for employment to change their temporary visas. It also offers them additional provisions when changing workplaces or setting up a company.
The bill aims to allow US employers to “focus on hiring immigrants based on merit, not their place of birth, by removing ‘on-the-ground’ restrictions on employment-based immigrant (green card) visas.” To lessen the impact of this on less populated countries and to ensure that eligible immigrants from those countries are not excluded when the law is implemented, the legislation plans to phase out country-by-country caps over nine years. released by the executive office of the president, during the transition period some visas will be deferred for physical therapists and nurses to meet demands in the health care sector, and “for employment-based immigrants and their family members who are not currently in the United States.”
Another goal of the EAGLE 2022 Act is to improve the H-1B specialty occupation visa program. This would be done by, among other things, strengthening hiring requirements, strengthening protections for American workers, and increasing transparency. H.R. 3648 also contains important provisions that allow individuals who have been waiting two years for immigrant visas to apply for a green card. Although applications could not be approved until visas are available, it would allow employment-based immigrants to transition from their temporary visas and give them additional flexibility to change employers or start businesses,” the statement said.
Benefits of Indian immigrants with the coming of Eagle Act
There are 140,000 employment-based green cards available, and country-by-country restrictions have pushed the backlog into the millions. The 2022 CATO report highlights that almost all backward immigrants are from India. According to a 2020 CATO report in the United States, 75 percent of the job backlog was held by skilled Indian workers. Notably, if everyone could stay in line, backward Indian workers would wait nine decades before they could get a green card.
A 2020 report also states that “more than 200,000 petitions filed for Indians may expire as a result of workers dying of old age before receiving green cards.
In addition to the law imposing limits on the number of green cards for immigrants of any birthplace, the reason Indians are waiting so much longer is employers filing far more petitions for Indians than the limits allow.
However, given the current situation, even if the country-by-country cap were removed, it would still be more than a decade for each employer-sponsored immigrant. So the country-by-country limits are disadvantageous for Indians, while newer immigrants face a lifetime wait for green cards.
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Contributed by Ankit Raj Sharma
Edited by Imtiaz Ullah