Landmark Bipartisan Deal Unveiled to Reform H-1B and Green Card Policies

In a significant development that promises to reshape the landscape of U.S. immigration policy, a White House-backed bipartisan agreement has been revealed, offering a ray of hope to H-1B visa holders and their dependents.

Landmark Bipartisan Deal Unveiled to Reform H-1B and Green Card Policies

The landmark deal introduces automatic work authorization for approximately 100,000 H-4 visa holders, primarily spouses and children of a specific category of H-1B visa holders, marking a pivotal shift towards addressing long-standing immigration issues.

Expansion of Employment-Based Green Cards

The agreement also heralds good news for Indian IT professionals and other foreign nationals seeking permanent residency in the U.S.

An additional 18,000 employment-based green cards will be allocated annually over the next five years, increasing the total to 158,000 per year.

This move aims to alleviate the excruciating backlog and expedite the green card process, offering a sigh of relief to countless families caught in limbo.

Protection for Aged-Out Children

A key component of the National Security Agreement, negotiated between Republican and Democratic leaders in the U.S. Senate, includes provisions for about 250,000 ‘aged-out’ children of H-1B visa holders.

These are children who have reached adulthood during their parents’ prolonged wait for green cards, facing the threat of deportation. The bill provides these individuals with ageing-out protection, granted they have maintained H4 status for eight years.

A Step Towards Comprehensive Immigration Reform

U.S. President Joe Biden lauded the bipartisan effort, emphasizing the critical need to overhaul a “broken” immigration system.

A Step Towards Comprehensive Immigration Reform

The proposed legislation seeks to make the country safer, secure the borders more effectively, and ensure fair and humane treatment of immigrants, aligning with America’s foundational values.

Work Authorization and Visa Provisions

The deal extends work authorization to K-1, K-2, and K-3 nonimmigrant visa holders, encompassing fianc├ęs or spouses and children of U.S. citizens, streamlining their ability to work in the U.S.

Additionally, it simplifies the process for H-4 visa holders associated with H-1B visa applicants, eliminating the need for separate approval before commencing employment.

Economic and Family Unity Measures

Highlighting the importance of economic contributions and family unity, the bill aims to expedite work permits for eligible individuals, allowing them to join the workforce sooner.

It includes provisions for asylum seekers, reducing the waiting period for work authorization, thereby alleviating financial burdens on local governments and communities.

Increase in Immigrant Visa Caps

For the first time in over three decades, the bill proposes to raise the annual cap on immigrant visas by adding an extra 250,000 visas over five years, divided between family-based (160,000) and employment-based (90,000) categories.

Increase in Immigrant Visa Caps

This expansion is designed to prioritize family reunification and meet the labor needs of U.S. businesses more effectively.

Support for Aged-Out Dependents

Addressing a critical issue for many families, the legislation offers a solution for over 250,000 individuals who have lawfully resided in the U.S. since childhood under their parents’ work visas but have aged out of dependent status.

The bill ensures they can remain in the U.S. temporarily with work authorization, promoting family unity.

Strategic and Humanitarian Commitments

The bipartisan deal also underscores the U.S.’s commitment to addressing global challenges, including providing support to allies in the Indo-Pacific region and continuing aid to Ukraine.

It emphasizes the importance of maintaining peace and stability while confronting threats from adversaries.

Call for Congressional Action

The White House has urged Congress to pass the bill swiftly, highlighting its potential to significantly reform the U.S. immigration system, enhance national security, and uphold America’s humanitarian values.

If enacted, the legislation will mark a monumental step forward in modernizing U.S. immigration policies, directly impacting the lives of hundreds of thousands of immigrants and their families.

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