Senate Passes Per-Country Cap Elimination Bill that Affects Employment-Based Visa Programs Such as EB-5
The U.S. Senate passed by Unanimous Consent an amended version of H.R. 1044, the Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act of 2019 that was passed by the U.S. House of Representatives in 2019.
The Senate-passed bill eliminates per-country quotas for all employment-based immigrant visa and adds additional requirements for H-1B visas. See the bill here.
This bill increases the per-country cap on family-based immigrant visas from 7% of the total number of such visas available that year to 15%, and eliminates the 7% cap for employment-based immigrant visas. It also removes an offset that reduced the number of visas for individuals from China.
The bill also establishes transition rules for employment-based visas from FY2020-FY2022, by reserving a percentage of EB-2 (workers with advanced degrees or exceptional ability), and EB-3 (skilled and other workers) for individuals not from the two countries with the largest number of recipients of such visas. Of the unreserved visas, not more than 85% shall be allotted to immigrants from any single country. EB-5 is not included in the transition as it was in the earlier House version.
The Senate bill includes H-1B compliance provisions and limitations on Chinese immigrants affiliated with the Chinese government. We understand that House leaders have concerns with some of these new Senate-passed provisions and will amend the bill and send it back to the Senate for passage. Should the bill pass both Chambers, it will be sent to the president for his signature before it will go into effect.