Eliminating Per-Country Caps Would Be a Disaster

Despite Congress being unable to reach agreement on any number of issues related to our flawed immigration system, one immigration bill has somehow found widespread bipartisan support in both the Senate and House – the Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act (H.R. 1044, S. 386). That is not good news because if it were signed into law, this bill would fundamentally alter our legal immigration system.

Our country faces an unprecedented humanitarian and security crisis raging at our southern border. Rather than focusing their efforts on remedying this catastrophe, Congress is fast tracking legislation to eliminate per-country caps for employment-based immigrant visas.

Contrary to its name, The Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act is anything but fair. Currently, no country’s nationals can comprise more than 7 percent of any visa category. These caps lead to diversity in employment-based immigration, which reflects the long standing American priority of welcoming talented immigrants from across the globe.

If this bill passes, nationals from other countries need not bother applying for employment-based visas. They would be completely shut out from the process due to the overwhelming number of Indian and Chinese petitions. These two countries would monopolize an entire immigration category. How would this happen?

Employment-based immigrant visas are limited and currently subject to per-country caps. There is presently an enormous backlog for Indian and Chinese employment-based visas. In FY 2018, the State Department found that Chinese and Indian applicants accounted for 68 percent of the employment-based visa waiting list.

Because of the sheer number of total immigrant visa applicants (including chain migration visas) from both countries, nationals from both countries must wait many years before receiving an employment visa because of the 7 percent per-country cap. Indians applying for an EB-3 visa could face waiting periods of 20 years.

Under H.R. 1044, Indians and Chinese nationals applying for employment visas would not face caps. Before, nationals from other countries could receive employment visas because no country could fill more than 7 percent of any employment visa category. H.R. 1044 would erase that boundary, thereby allowing the hundreds of thousands of applicants from India and China to dominate the employment categories, shouldering out applicants from other countries.

This bill would profoundly change legal immigration to the United States for generations to come; and few, if any, individuals from countries other than India or China would be able to immigrate to the United States on an employment-based visa. Our immigration system is not designed to benefit only one or two countries.

Lastly, and perhaps most alarming, this bill rewards tech and foreign outsourcing companies that replaced American workers with hundreds of thousands of low cost, less skilled H-1B guest workers. That is a slap in the face to victims of flawed guest worker programs like H-1B — American mothers, fathers, and breadwinners who lost their livelihoods to cheaper foreign replacements and outsourcing.

This bill may boast bipartisan support, but that alone does not make it a good bill. The effort to pass it is fueled by hundreds of lobbyists and corporate support masks the fact that it will harm American interests and profoundly change employment-based immigration. It is remarkable that Congress is focusing its energy on this unurgent matter instead of addressing the more pressing concerns at our southwest border.

Instead of bowing to the interests of foreign governments and multinational corporate interests, our legislators should firmly reject this proposal and focus their attention on actually reforming our legal immigration system by adopting a merit-based points system open to nationals from more than just India and China.

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  1. avatar
    Happy Indian on

    I am really enjoying the way the white nationalist, neo-Nazis, and others are terrified with this news. Guess what, we have dealt with white exploitation for over 250 years and are still the fastest growing major economy. Your comments have further convinced me that I should treat every worker that I am hiring as an Indian hater and specifically recommend to hire further Indians. The only way to counter this majoritarian threat is to remove the majority and I will try my best to contribute however little I can.

  2. avatar

    Indian companies are against this bill because this law will allow the employee get green card and leave the company or start up their own. The current backlog allow these companies to keep the employee in Visa for a prolonged period with minimum salary.

    Also this law do not support any nation in particular, it just says first come first get Green card.

    At last, imagine the legal dreamers who came to US legally when they are toddlers and slef deport because after 21 due to this backlog. Isn’t cruel?

  3. avatar

    I am really sad and worried. My kids will not get any jobs in the Stem field. The Indians are horrible !

    • avatar

      This law does not increase the H1B visa. Please do not push your kids to STEM field if your child is not interested. If your child is interested, then he/she can very well compete with any one [not just Indians].

  4. avatar

    quota is good because if promotes diversity. Reason why Indians will get benefit is because they’re already too many in these companies so sponsor Indians only. It’s not that Indians are magically intelligent but because they’re doing a favour. Currently Indians are #3 illegal immigrants in US. Quota ensures that diversity is maintained. It’s not that the other’s category is going unfulfilled because they can’t find talent. Majority of the H-1B visas goes to India because they have the most amount of applications so it’s purely a number game. Babies born in India every year outpace majority of the country population. In the long run it’s going to hurt US with even results within 5-10 years where they’ll start pushing for more favourable regulations. I think the quota should be 5% as opposed to 7%

  5. avatar
    Iserveddidyou on

    How is a per country cap unfair or discriminatory. The actual truth is completely opposite. The spirit of this legislation is absolutely racist. India or China don’t have the rights to dominate work based immigration to the US. The corporations backing this are ethnic cherry picking their workforce, which is a moral and a veil attempt to more access to these countries consumer markets.

    Let’s face it, India and China are two very nationalistic societies. Their local markets will always be protected from outside corporate powers. Especially the Capitalist monster that is the USA, let alone a neighboring country.

    Immigration on its own merits is grounded in the idea of diversity. This legislation obliterates one of the few positive attributes of modern day immigration. We should accept work based immigrants from as many countries as possible. We kept this policy because it kept America from allowing in only European workers, which was preferable to a majority of Americans. Now we want to allow in only Indians and Chinese (a truthful eventuality) because Corporations find it preferable.

    Since when did corporations become deities?

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  7. avatar

    The faces of contributors on this website does not show diversity at all. Look WHo is talking of diversity here where as the contributors do not show any asian or african faces?

  8. avatar

    THis article is misleading AND BIASED. Country caps do not promote merit. Trump is asking only to bring merit forward onto national stage and not country based discrimination. if you know at all anything about world population, one in every 6 or 7 person is either an Indian or CHinese national. the talent is of course going to be more in these numbers. Be grateful that these nationals choose to come to USA and make USA for what it is world’s best for innovation so far. Think deeply inside. See humans for being humans. do not promote hatred. Support merit for better life for all. do not create and make people see through artificially created lens of yours.

  9. avatar

    To those who are partly-informed, a little bit of knowledge is too dangerous.
    Understand that H-1B visas are given in the first place to those who meet the guidelines of the merit-based occupational handbook that an institutional attorney has to refer to before granting an H-1B visa.
    If we were to go by the writer’s last paragraph: By merit points based system, you will be fooled to realize that again only Indians and Chinese will end up getting the green card because we come to the U.S. to perform exceedingly well which rewards us with a Master’s degree , if not a PhD! Indians and Chinese come as legal immigrants on a “skilled worker” (aka merit or H-1B) basis. There is your answer, my friend, as to why Congress is so right in doing what it is doing.

    • avatar

      Yes, because foreign tuition rates had no impact in admitting foreign students to no-fail master’s courses. Out of the 300 Indian nationals I work with daily, only 4 of them are outstanding, 30 are capable of actually doing their jobs. The rest just send a bill for IBM and will be recycled when their h1-b runs out. It’s only allowed because the managers and IT director are Indian.

      What Indians term business is what the US terms a cartel. But hey, it’s our of scheming, greedy politicians that created the situation and our rampant apologism that allows it to proliferate unchecked, so it’s inevitably our fault.

      Indians will flood the US, with their backwards thinking, misogyny and nepotism. Inside of 15 years the top end of our economy will belong to them and we’ll be just like Uganda.

  10. avatar

    It will be what it will be. No way, we got to accept the fact. Then, we will see, an Indiamerica! That is cool.

      • avatar

        Under what definition? -> Talent.
        Can you differentiate a software written by Indians or not? If Indians are pathetic, then the software written by them will also be pathetic… right?

  11. avatar

    This bill will only benefit Indians. The big backlog just because Indians abuse of H1b. Now, this bill will abuse greencard. I love US, but now I’m very disappointed! US should forbid Indians abuse of H1b first, so that the most excellent people can stay and get greencard. This bill is NOT FAIR for all people from other countries except India.

    US is not the US before. How can this bill pass through? OMG~

    • avatar

      I would say US should stop H1bs as well for India in this case or they should per country limit for new H1b’s as well. Inflow and out flow should be same at least. there are many other countries where Indians go to

  12. avatar

    You really should fact-check before you write about it.
    The bill would ONLY benefit Indians, not Chinese.
    Based on the current demand of EB visas (data from NVC and USCIS), if the bill passes senate, 100% of all 140,000 employment based visas will be issued to ONLY INDIANS beginning in 2022. Yes, 100%.
    They could really build a new India in America.

    • avatar

      Sure 100%, but only in the Employment-based category which is supposed to be merit-based. That is a tiny fraction of total GCs issued each year.

      To even get in the queue for GC, every candidate (Indian or not) has to go through extensive process to prove his qualification & prove that he is not displacing any american worker. If an Indian went through all this process and got in the queue in 2010 before some guy from Nepal or France who got in the queue in 2019, it absolutely fair that they get the Indian guy get GC first. That is all this bill asks for.

      The backlog has been built up DUE TO unfair & discriminatory country-cap till now. Removing the country-cap is not “benefiting” Indians, it is just reversing the damage done to them.

      • avatar

        They did it to themselves. They lobbied politicians, infiltrated companies and exploited US corporate greed to dominate entire sectors of the industry. The companies doing that then exploited the terms to keep their own citizens down. The reason the rolls are flooded is the usage of the green card as a visa extension by Indian h1-bs that have intention of immigrating. There’s also the fact that Infosys, wipro, tata, IBM India/GS, cognizant, Aegis, Genpact, HCL etc don’t WANT to sponsor the green card applications, because that would give them less power over the employee.

        From an American perspective, the cap is meant to control unregulated influx; if 10% of India moved to the US, they’d have a voting majority, at which point Indian culture would dominate the US by force majeure. We don’t owe you anything, you weren’t born here, you’re not invested in our society and the vast majority of indians make absolutely no effort integrate or become part of American culture, instead choosing to isolate themselves among their own kind. I can say I would be different as I’ve lived in korea and china, and spent 0 time in expat communities in either location.

        Why is that negative? India is at best 100 years behind the US in terms of social progress. They also refuse to take the steps necessary to develop their economy. Indian leadership want to skip the necessary steps to grow from a newly industrialized country, to an eventual service economy. They fail to see that those steps are necessary in order to develop the infrastructure required to power the latter. They’ve also been a newly industrialized country longer than any other, a fact which suggests that status and the problems associated with it are being used as a political control mechanism by its politicians.

        And then there’s Modi. Modi is a chicken in every pot populist sectarian hindu nationalist who won on, among things, promises to introduce toilets to impoverished regions. Again, problems the west solved a hundred or more years ago. That’s before even broaching the subject of him applauding lynching and killings of non-hindus for frequently fabricated offenses, his plan to reduce population via paid hysterectomy and countless other barbaric measures the average American is too stupid to account for, or realize that their coworker likely supported and/or voted for depending on how long they’ve been here. Our societies are borderline incompatible.

  13. avatar

    This BS will ONLY benefit Indians. Chinese nationals currently in green card queue might get a very small short term advantage, but will have to double their wait time after 3 years. After 3 years transition period, 90% of US green card will be issued to Indians, while Chinese will then get absolute ZERO green card, let alone the rest of the world. Where is the diversity then?

    • avatar

      Non-populous countries have been benefiting at the cost of populous countries for the last several decades. That is the reason why the backlog for India (and to a small extent for China) has been built up.

      If an Indian got in the queue for GC in 2010 before some guy from Nepal or France who got in the queue in 2019, it absolutely fair that the Indian guy get GC first. That is all this bill asks for.

      And to answer your question about diversity: This bill is only applicable for Employment-based GC category which by its definition is supposed to be merit-based. This category is already just a tiny fraction of the total GCs issued each year. There are many other GC categories unaffected by this bill. There is also a special diversity visa category for diversity.

  14. avatar
    Hello America on

    I love America. I will invest in Microsoft, Facebook and Google and make millions.

  15. avatar

    This is about employment based immigration NOT FAMILY BASED immigration. When Microsoft, Google, Facebook and Apple etc…hires people based on their talent but not based on their country of origin so there should not be a country based limitation in this section of immigration too. If you say, above companies prefer diversification in their workforce based on the country of origin BUT NOT based on individual talent then i am in for it and will say there should be a per country cap, else welcome this move by the congress.

    • avatar

      We need to have a country cap on companies hiring like Amazon, Google, Microsoft, Facebook also. Those companies apply for a GC card and those employees also stuck for 15-20 years for green card. How about a country cap like that ?

      • avatar

        Try selling your idea and see what happens…either those companies stop hiring immigrants or move their operations to other countries…then people like you loose jobs and becomes beggars…how about that? i guess you like it since you seem to be incompetent anyway.

        • avatar

          Amazon is already in the process of relocating many people to Vancouver for this exact reason.

      • avatar

        Why should there by a country cap for hiring people by talent? WTF is wrong with you?

  16. avatar

    Don’t allow any type of immigration vote without E verify Money for the wall …… everyone knows the dumbos …… manufactured crisis was ******** Close the border

  17. avatar
    Narendra Nath on

    H-1b visa category itself was supposed to be a temporary visa. But during clinton administration instead of giving priority to US educated foreign graduates with PhDs etc to continue research in USA , EB1 EB2 visas were opened up to h-1b with various legislations like CA21 etc opening up the door to large scale fraud by NASSCOM companies and small body shops. Unlike popular perceptions these Immigration petitions are not at all verified. In actual experience a majority of h-1b petitions are not verified for education or experience but vetted only for security purposes. A majority of the pending petitions are based on fake vacancies are EADs have been routinely issued FIFO basis since CA21 etc were passed. The petitions are supposed to be vetted and verified once the petitioner gets a GC number. But that doesn’t happen as USCIS is over loaded and as USCIS doesn’t provide any numbers we can safely assume 1 in 10 petitions are verified or background check done.

    It is totally unfair to all those highly educated at top universities as these body shops and indian NASSCOm companies like infy,tcs, wipro, mahindra satyam etc know how to game the system and clog the h-1b and EB GCs system using their feeder small body shops run by their relatives associates etc. It is a fact that many top successful start ups in iNDIA and china in last five ten years were started by these people who couldn’t get a h-1b visa or EB green card, where as manual tester from Infosy s, or visual basic programmer from Wipro gets the h-1b files a EAD and keeps working on for years in USA as indentured labor.

    IT is time to get rid of the existing system and link h-1b and EB visas based on the student visas issued over last five years and that too only to those educated at Universities which are accredited and have high rating from education dept of USA.

    THe existing backlog is full of fraud and it is time to get rid of lock stock and barrel just as quebec has done it just a few weeks ago.

    • avatar

      I mean, I’ll back this. We also need to demand the Indian institutions have more reliable credential verification. We’ve fired 6 people and a director in the last 3 years after it was discovered that the director was running a ferrying scam, applying on behalf of a company he owned, then moving them over with fake credentials from Andhra degree mills to pad his headcount numbers and collect bakshish out of their salaries.

  18. avatar

    Actually it is not….this bill actually solves a historic wrong in the US immigration system…All of these people have approved immigration petitions…that was vetted by the US department of labor for wages, availability of qualified Americans who could do the job, the positions were advertised on newspapers, websites etc..and after a long drawn & expensive process, these people were given a certification by the US department of labor…then they applied to the US Immigration authorities, who validated their education, credentials, experiences, company details etc and after a long drawn and expensive process told them their immigrant petitions were approved…then came the wait… our immigration system says we want you based on your skills but we care where you were born…as if anyone has control over their place of birth…so an Iranian Pizza delivery guy or a Nigerian Uber driver get their green cards based on place of birth in 6-8 months while an India born Neurosurgeon or a Hardware Chip Accelerator designer with a Masters Degree in Electrical Engineering from MIT and say an MBA from Harvard will wait for 20 plus years to get the same plastic…and in the interim will not be allowed to start his/her company, his spouse who he married in India has an Masters degree herself/himself will not be allowed to work and cannot negotiate or change jobs easily because the whole process will need to be re-done all over again….Country of birth is not a skill…it needs to be first come, first serve….there is no moral or economic reason to say X will crowd out Y…if it is skills based immigration, it should not matter where the skill is coming from.

    • avatar

      “Availability of qualified Americans who could do the job”. Like the Disney workers, in blue link “replaced”, who were fired and forced to train their replacements if they wanted a severance package?That happens all the time. It’s much cheaper for the companies as far as benefits and salary so they let the Americans go. Saying “there is no moral or economic reason to say X will crowd out Y” is flat out incorrect. Economic reasons are exactly what this is about.

      • avatar

        I am from one of the US company & I did “Knowledge Transfer” to one of the biggest IT company .& after 1 month 35 IT employees were fired.

    • avatar

      I did not like this bill.
      But after reading your comment I am convinced by you.
      The bill does not make sense. Wow you are really persuasive..

    • avatar

      Absolutely! Can’t agree more! Spot -on, smart, intelligent, and ‘meritorious’ – that’s what we are and we call ourselves Indians!

    • avatar

      That’s cute, but no. The majority are Indians with fake or illegitimately upconverted degrees from schools looking to farm foreign student tuition.

      The majority of Indians getting H1bs are those on the rosters of the massive body shops. Most of them don’t actually want to immigrate, they’re looking to use the green card as a means of extending their visa beyond two renewals so they can bank a retirement and then siphon all that money out of our economy. In the meantime, they’re being used by American companies as a cost control measure as it means they don’t have to pay wage increases, etc.

      What we need to combat this type of fraud is as follows:

      1. If you apply for greencard on your h1b, it should be approved.
      2. 20% of your income should be held in escrow, in addition to taxes, plus a matching 15% from the employer
      3. At the point where you obtain citizenship and formally renounce your citizenship, your account will be released back to you.
      4. If you return to your country of origin to live (4 months of longer), you forfeit your escrow account
      5. all forfeited escrow accounts should be use to retrain american workers
      6. If you obtain citizenship and decide to emigrate, you must repay the amount previously awarded from escrow
      7. If you leave without paying, the act should be considered criminal and the US government should be able to place a hold on all accounts and levy taxes to repay the original amount plus 35% of all earnings year over year since the repayment of escrow
      8. A treaty should be signed with all nations agreeing to joint enforcement and extradition based on this

  19. avatar

    My idea is to put a cap of 0 on everybody. This only allows corporations to hire low wage foreigners at the expense of Americans. These people don’t come here to become Americans, just to exploit. The company has someone at their mercy for around 5 years and are kids suffer because of it

  20. avatar

    It’s the same garbage we hear about how there are decades long waits for visas from certain countries for “family reunification”. And? Who promised anyone anything? There is no issue of “fairness” here. They are entitled to nothing. WE get to decide. The “high skilled” part is also a joke. Many of these people lack the most basic skills in their profession.

    A similar argument is made that we can “solve” the issue of illegal immigration by greatly increasing legal visas to come here to work. We do not need more workers. We need laws enforced. Automation is quickly replacing many jobs. A just announced survey found that 1 out of 4 people have no plans to retire because they cannot afford to. This is just yet another example of the thieves in Congress doing the bidding of their corporate owners at the expense of working Americans.

    • avatar

      Yes, no one promised anyone anything but the fact of the matter is – there are still 140,000 employment based green cards issued each year, that still doesn’t increase or decrease with this bill. The process of allotment currently discriminates based on country of birth. In the Segregation era, we had similar laws preventing migration from certain races. Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 changed that, thanks to the Civil Rights movement. Country level caps still discriminate – someone who applied in 2009 is still waiting while someone who applies in 2019 is granted the green card straight away. Only difference between them – where they were born. Yes, no one is entitled to anything, but is the 2019 applicant entitled any more than the 2009 applicant?
      Moreover, the candidate in the decades long wait renews his/her H1B continuously thereby prolonging the “H1B wage”. If anything, this bill should RAISE the average wage; by $11500 according to some estimates.

      • avatar

        You really think this bill “should raise the average wage by $11500 according to some estimates”? Absolute nonsense. Business is going to support a bill where they have to pay MORE? All the big tech companies are behind this. Supply and demand? It’s never changed since Adam Smith wrote about it two centuries ago. Business of all kinds wants a never ending flow of immigrants to depress wages.

        Three decades of mass immigration has gone hand in hand with stagnation of wages and benefits for the working class while the top percent has increased their share of the pie. And it’s well known Chinese workers spy for the Chinese government and steal our technology.

        • avatar

          Lawyers and hiring are very expensive. Just because a worker gets paid more doesn’t mean that companies don’t get to cut cost.
          Plus the tech industry has been constantly hiring. There just aren’t enough American workers to fill the positions.

          • avatar

            Lawyers for what? If there “aren’t enough American workers to fill the positions”, then why have so many companies laid off American workers. There is case after case, including Disney letting them go to bring in H1B workers.

          • avatar

            The problem isn’t a dearth of excess of American workers, it’s the cartel nature of Indian bosses. They only hire Indians, and if they didn’t replace native workers to begin with, they surely will the longer they’re present. Those that **** on and deal with the abuse are never promoted and denied compensation beyond base due to poor performance review. This has happened countless times across hundreds if not thousands of companies.

            This would be fine if we also had a low cost of living country to run back to, but we have to stay here. If you make someone feel trapped, they will lash out.

    • avatar

      You have really wrong ideas of how the system works.

      Who promised anyone anything?
      -> When an employee’s application for employment-based GC is approved by USCIS after a lengthy process in which DOL verifies his credentials & verifies that he is not displacing any american worker, the “approval” is essentially promising a GC.

      There is no issue of “fairness” here.
      -> Ofcourse there is. After having gone through the above lengthy process, and having proven that the individual is qualified for a particular high skill job, if country-of-birth is going to hold back his GC, it is obviously very UNFAIR for a skills-based GC category!

      The “high skilled” part is also a joke.
      -> No it is NOT a joke. Just because there have been a few rotten cases in H1B visa exploitation does not mean everyone is unskilled. There are hundreds or thousands of actually highly qualified Indians and their skill level gets verified by DOL and USCIS thoroughly. I know this because I have gone through the process. I have to provide all my certifications, experience letters, write about how my education is relevant to my job, etc. They even mandatorily try recruiting citizens for my position for 2 months. Only after all this process does USCIS approve the application for GC.

      • avatar

        “Essentially promising” a green card is not promising a green card. The only thing promised is a chance to apply and get on the waiting list, under the guidelines in effect at the time.