House votes to end per-country caps on worker-based immigration visasPublished: Wednesday, November 30, 2011 9:00 am
The House voted on Tuesday November 29 to end per-country caps on worker-based immigration visas, a move that should benefit skilled Indian and Chinese residents seeking to stay in the United States and the high-tech companies who hire them. The legislation, which passed 389-15, was a rare example of bipartisan accord on immigration, an issue that largely has been avoided during the current session of Congress because of the political sensitivities involved.
The measure would eliminate the current law that says employment-based visas to any one country can’t exceed 7 percent of the total number of such visas given out. Instead, permanent residence visas or green cards would be handled on a first-come, first-served basis. The bill also changes family-based visa limits from 7 percent per country to 15 percent per country, an adjustment that could slightly ease the backlog for naturalized citizens, particularly from Mexico and the Philippines, trying to bring relatives into the country.