Employers in Kentucky and across the United States often need highly-skilled workers to fulfill various roles within their organizations. These employers may want to expand their pool of applicants to include those who live abroad. However, migrants seeking U.S. permanent residency based on an employment-based visas face challenges in doing so.
Under current U.S. law, the amount of time a migrant must wait to obtain an employment-based visa is based on the migrant’s country of birth. This is because there are per-country limits on how many employment-based visas will be issued each year. The Immigration and Nationality Act states that these per-country limits must amount to 7 percent of all visas based on family and employment-based preferences.
Some argue that there is no economic value in the per-country limit and that such limits negatively affect U.S. businesses, making them less competitive. These limits also mean that individuals who are waiting for green cards are not being promoted and are not able to establish their own businesses.
However, some legislators are looking to address this issue. A bill called “The Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act of 2019” has been introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives. Under this bill, the per-country limit for employment-based visas would gradually be phased out until it is eliminated entirely. Once the transition period concludes, employment-based visas will be issued on a first come, first serve basis.
It remains to be seen if this bill will be signed into law. Until then, the current per-country limits on employment-based visas still stand. However, any measure that makes it easier for migrants to live and work in the U.S. benefits not just these individuals but also the businesses that wish to hire them.