On November 20, 2011, the House voted to uncap quotas for employer-sponsored immigration. It is cautiously expected that Senate will pass the legislation and President Obama will sign it.
If this legislation becomes law, employers and their foreign workers, whose labor certification have been approved by DOL, will no longer have to wait up to nine years to applying for their lawful permanent resident status in the US.
The quotas were established in 57 and since then have long become obsolete, impeding flow of needed foreign workers such as IT workers, to the US. Currently, employers and their foreign workers may calculate how long it would have taken them to establish the worker’s eligibility for an immigrant visa based on an offer of employment, as reflected in the Department of State’s Visa Bulletin for December 2011
The 1st category, being reserved for aliens of extraordinary ability, such as Noble Prize winners and multinational executives, is of limited use for most position. The categories of interest to most employers are the Second and Third.
The 2nd category is reserved for jobs requiring advanced degrees. For individuals from India and China, the backlog in that category dates back to March 2008, which is
The 3d category is for jobs involving skilled workers, professionals, and other workers, as long as the job requires at least two years of training or education. This includes a programmer-analyst job that requires a Bachelor Degree in computer science. As of today, a U.S. business needs to have waited over nine (9) years (current date of December 2011 minus India 2d, August 2001), to establish eligibility for an India-born programmer-analyst to apply for lawful permanent status or immigrant visa to legally immigrate to the United States. Meanwhile, the worker is not allowed to stay or work in the U.S. unless he or she has another visa such as an H-1B visa allowing that.
The “Other Jobs Category” is for most other jobs not requiring at least two years of training or education. An employer sponsoring a worker in this category, such as a sowing machine operator from China, would have waited over seven (7) years (current date of December 2011 munis to establish eligibility to apply for legal immigration to the United States. No wonder that few, if any, US employers are not sponsoring workers in that category, instead, they are sending these jobs to China. An employer sponsoring a meat cutting worker from Mexico will have to wait 6 (six) years to establish eligibility. Businesses simply cannot plan operations waiting for labor to be available in six to seven years. So they take risks employing available labor irrespective of employment eligibility, or move their operations abroad, if they can.
Posted by Mira Mdivani
Corporate Immigration Attorney
The Mdivani Law Firm
This article does not contain legal advice. It is general background information.