President Trump announced last week his support for the Reform American Immigration for Strong Employment (RAISE) Act introduced by two Republican Senators. The scope of the bill is limited, as are its chances to become law. The bill focuses on reforming the green card permanent residency process, replacing the employment sponsored green card process with a points-based immigration system similar to programs available in Australia and Canada, awarding points to foreign nationals based on various desirable characteristics. Even if it becomes law, it would not change the non-immigrant visa process (H-1Bs, TNs, E-3s, O-1s, and L-1s would not be affected) or annual visa allotments.
Summary of Proposed Green Card Points System:
- Does not change the number of green cards issued each year; the numerical caps would remain.
- Would replace the current PERM/I-140 process for employment sponsored green cards.
- 87 points are available (in total), and a minimum of 30 points are required for eligibility.
- Only the highest ranked applicants (after a review process) would be invited to apply for a green card, with invitations to apply issued every 6 months (only twice in a fiscal year).
- Points would be awarded to applicants based on the factors below:
Other Key Features of the Proposed Legislation:
- Spouses and minor children of applicants would continue to be included as derivatives on green card applications.
- Adult children and siblings would no longer be allowed to apply for permanent residency through family sponsorship.
- The Diversity Visa Lottery would be terminated.
- Refugee levels would be capped at 50,000 per year.
It’s unclear how much support the proposed legislation will gain in the Senate or House of Representative. This proposed legislation is currently pending review in the Senate Judiciary Committee.
EIG attorneys will continue to track the progress of the RAISE Act and provide updates as they are made available. If you have any questions please reach out to us.