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Important Facts about Skilled Immigration Print E-mail

CFR Independent Task Force on Immigration Policy 2009

Page 20

Continuing to attract highly skilled immigrants is critical to the competitiveness of the U.S. economy, and to America’s ability to remain the world’s leader in innovation.


Page 58

Legal immigration system is undermined by complex rules and the restrictions imposed by quotas and processing delays, all of which end up leaving many individuals who would like to seek permanent residence stuck for years as temporary workers.


Pages 84 through 87

Recommendations - Restricting permanent immigration by highly skilled workers on the basis of nationality is not in America’s interest. In particular, it artificially restricts immigrants from India and China whom many U.S. companies are eager to attract. The Task Force therefore recommends eliminating the nationality quotas for skilled workers


National Council for American Policy
Policy Brief - May 2007

"U.S. Green Card delays worsen for employment-based immigrants: Options available for Congress to fix the problem"


Page 6

Given what we know about the possible extent of the employment-based backlogs and the likely impact of the per country limits in preventing timely elimination of those backlogs, it may be time to consider eliminating the per country limits for employment-based immigrants.


Page 7

There is a disconnect in U.S. policy between the start of the path to permanent residence (H-1B temporary visas that include no per country limits) and the path’s final destination (green card quotas with strict per country limits).


Page 8

If the goal is to come close to making employment-based green card categories current by substantially reducing or doing away with the current employment-based green card backlogs, then eliminating the per country limits for skilled employment-based immigrants is likely the best alternative to achieve that result

Center for Immigration Studies
Article - July 29, 2011

Getting rid of the 7% per county ceiling in employment-based immigration would have no negative impacts on our immigration policy.
In summary, this is how I would score the proposals in terms of adding people to the U.S. population each year: Eliminate country ceilings = zero

(Note: No green card numbers added to annual allotment and No increase in number of applicants in existing green card queue)


 Testimony of Bob Greifeld, CEO and President, NASDAQ OMX

Senate Judiciary Committee Subcommittee on Immigration, Refugees and Border Security

July 26, 2011


Page 4

NASDAQ OMX believes that Green Card backlogs could be reduced or eliminated –

Eliminate the employment-based per country levels which limit knowledge-worker producing countries like China and India to the same numbers as the smallest nations on the planet.

Testimony of David J. Skorton, President, Cornell University

On behalf of the Association of American Universities

Senate judiciary committee Subcommittee on Immigration, Refugees & Border Security, July 26, 2011


The higher education community has consistently supported efforts to reduce the number of skilled immigrants waiting for green cards through legislation to eliminate per-country caps for green cards and to authorize the use of unclaimed green cards from previous years."

National Council for American Policy

Policy Brief – November 2009

“Employment - based green card projections point to decade - long waits”

Page 1

Skilled individuals born in India whose U.S. employers file for them today, or who have filed recently, are unlikely to receive employment-based green cards before the year 2022 or, in some cases, potentially even 2029. To put this in perspective, children today in kindergarten may graduate from college by the time Indians who file new applications for an employment-based immigrant visa would receive a green card.

Page 8

Congress could eliminate the per country limit on employment-based immigrants. This policy recommendation was included in a past bill by Rep. Lofgren and Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA). Failing to eliminate the per country limit could result in skilled immigrants from India continuing to endure long waits even if other legislative changes are made.

 Page 9

In practice, the per country limit under current law takes the employment-based immigration system away from a “first come, first serve” approach, to one that favors people from less populated countries (since countries with small populations will not reach the per country limits). Does the United States have an interest in favoring immigrants from countries with smaller populations? There is no reason to think we do. Under the current system, an employer could file for labor certification for three employees on the same day – one an engineer from Denmark, one from Syria, and the other an engineer from India. Because the per country limit would restrict the number of skilled immigrants from India in a year the engineers born in Denmark and Syria would receive their green cards potentially years before the engineer from India. This would be unfair and serve no policy purpose. If policymakers exist who wish to maintain the per country limit on employment-based immigrants because the “don’t want to see so many Indians or Chinese come to America,” then such policymakers should state these sentiments in a public forum.

Page 9

Eliminating the per country limit for employment-based immigration would not prevent individuals born in other countries from gaining green cards. There is no per country limit for H-1B visas and skilled professionals from a variety of countries gain access to the visas on an annual basis.

In the employment-based categories, U.S. employers are hiring based on merit, without regard to race, religion or nationality. In fact, it is a moral and legal hallmark in America that hiring be accomplished without regard to such factors. Ironically, if U.S. companies decided among themselves to offer green cards to only a certain number of Indians or Chinese in a given year, then they would face both public and legal scorn. However, in essence, the U.S. government is mandating that type of a policy for U.S. companies.
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Neil Patel Neil Patel
Former Domestic & Economic Policy Advisor to VP
Robert Hoffman Robert Hoffman
Senior Vice President of ITI
Ilya Shapiro Ilya Shapiro
Senior Fellow in Constitutional Studies, CATO Institute



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