HR 3012 (2011-2012)

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The Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act, popularly known as H.R 3012, is an immigration bill introduced by Rep.Jason Chaffetz (UT-3] and co-sponsored by a bipartisan group of 11 House members, including House Judiciary Chairman Lamar Smith (TX-21) and Immigration Subcommittee Ranking Member Zoe Lofgren (CA-16). This bill amends the Immigration and Nationality Act to eliminate the per country numerical limitation for employment-based immigrants and also adjusts the limitations on family visas without increasing the total number of available visas. As a net result, this bill will drastically reduce green card wait times for applicants from countries that are "retrogressed" due to backlogs in the Employment-based immigration system created by the 7% per-country limits.


- Passed by U.S House Of Representatives on November 29th, 2011 by an overwhelming bipartisan vote of 389 to 15.
- Currently pending passage in U.S Senate - bill enjoys widespread support in Senate as well.

Immigration Voice has played a leading grass-roots role petitioning the U.S Congress to PASS H.R 3012.
IV Advocacy ensured that the voice of high-skilled immigrants stuck in backlogs is heard on Capitol Hill.
H.R 3012 is YOUR bill, and will alleviate the plight of close to a million high-skilled immigrants who are stuck in the green card queue for anywhere between 10-20 years. Please join Immigration Voice grass-efforts to push for H.R 3012 till it is signed into law. We are almost there!

Watch this space or follow IV in the social media ( Facebook, Twitter, Google+) as well as the Immigration Voice Forums

Senator Grassley's Amendment to H.R 3012

Please click this link to read an FAQ on the Grassley Amendment to H.R.3012. Senator Grassley and Senator Schumer reached an agreement to push H.R 3012 forward in the Senate.
Please note that the original H.R.3012 bill and its text which eliminates per-country limits in the EB system and increase FB per-country limits from 7 to 15% DOES NOT CHANGE IN ANY WAY. This amendment is just an addendum.


1) "FAIRNESS AND FREEDOM MARCH", September 8th, 2012; Circle of Palms Plaza, San Jose; 10 AM Support H.R.3012 to bring in fairness, foster innovation, and help backlogged high-skilled immigrants get their green cards faster.

Thanks to the intense grassroots efforts and lobbying by Immigration Voice over the past year, H.R.3012 was passed with overwhelming bipartisan support in the House and is now pending in the Senate. As a key part of the overall strategy to get our bill passed in the Senate, IV is organizing a peaceful rally in San Jose, CA.

We ALL have to attend this rally and stand up for what we believe in - passage of H.R. 3012 and the elimination of these unfair per country caps. We are the ones whose lives and careers are at stake here, so we have to be the ones to show up. We cannot rely on other groups to take care of us. This is a make or break moment for this bill and we need ALL members from across the country to attend this peaceful rally in San Jose and stand up in support of H.R.3012.


2) Spread the message about the rally and convince your friends/colleagues/family to attend - Please print out the flyers and posters HERE. Print out multiple copies and post at grocery stores, apartment communities, temples etc frequented by high-skilled immigrants stuck in EB GC backlogs so maximum number of people are informed about the rally and we get thousands of impacted folks to attend.

3) Ongoing Action Alert - Send this message to your Senators requesting their leadership to PASS H.R 3012 in the U.S Senate.

4) Please Contribute to IV for H.R 3012. We need a well-funded advocacy effort to get our bill past the finish line.

5) Sign this ongoing Petition to Congress -

What to look forward to at the "Fairness and Freedom March"?

Check out some memorable experiences shared by members as well as video clips from IV's successful rally in September 2007 Come join us on September 8th, 2012 and let us re-create that magic!!!



Immigration Voice invited to U.S Senate hearing to testify on high-skilled immigration

Dr. Puneet Arora from IV testifies on Capitol Hill for removal of per-country limits

H.R 3012 introduced by Rep. Chaffetz - IV acknowledged

IV shares with members on eve of House Vote about the schedule and that bill is expected to get close to 90% support

Rep. Chaffetz office press release after House vote - H.R 3012 passes with overwhelming bipartisan support of 389 House Representatives

Sen. Coons and Sen.Alexander introduce SMART Jobs Act - press release shares IV endorsement of bill. Positive Development for H.R 3012

Sen. Cornyn introduces STEM bill; positive development for H.R 3012

Senator.Grassley removes hold on H.R 3012

Unanimous Support From Industry

Unanimous support from Universities


Per-Country Limits Create Extreme Green Card backlogs

The nation’s high-skilled legal immigration system has become outdated and this is reflected in employment-based green card backlogs of up to a million applications that have accumulated over the past decade. The root cause for the existing green card application backlog is that the Immigration and Nationality Act sets a per-country limit of 7% for employment-based (EB) visa applicants. It should be noted that this is in addition to the employment-based preference category (EB-1, EB-2, and EB-3) limits. In other words, out of the present employment-based annual quota of 140,000 visas, each EB preference category is allocated 40,040 visas (or 28.6%), of which only 2,803 (or 7%) are set aside for each country annually. Once any visa category has met its quota of 2,803 visa numbers, all additional applications are backlogged. Rationing only 7% or 2,803 green cards annually to the thousands of highly skilled immigrants from countries such as India, China, Mexico, Phillippines has led to an application backlog that has grown rapidly to a million applicants over the past decade. Under existing U.S. law, these applicants are already approved as eligible for permanent residence (i.e. I-140 approved) but ironically cannot be granted a green card due to their country of origin (i.e. Visa Bulletin NOT CURRENT). Therefore while Employment-Based green card applicants from countries such as India, China, Mexico, Phillippines have to wait for many years (more than a decade in most cases) to receive a green card, applicants from all other countries face very minimal wait times.

Congress did not include any country of origin limits when it designed the system for temporary worker visas, and it is not surprising that nationals of countries with large populations are among the most numerous recipients of U.S. company job offers and visas. Since many of these professionals are later sponsored for green cards by employers, there is a disconnect in the 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).


Employment based immigration system has inherited the concept of per-country limits from family-based immigration system and the diversity visa lottery program. The purpose of such limits was to ensure proportionality of incoming populations, where individual skills were not relevant – that is, to encourage the American ‘melting pot.’ The other areas of Immigration such as diversity visa lottery and family based Immigration that helps naturalized citizens to reunite with families, would be suitable for per-country limitations. In those visa categories, per-country limits will prevent applicants from certain countries from monopolizing the number of visas available and choking the pipeline with huge number of applications. However, in the context of skill/employment based immigration, the per-country numerical limitations do not make sense. Job skills, employment and education have nothing to do with country of origin, neither should an employment-based immigration system.

Even in the family-based green card system, per-country limit of 7% has proven to be very stringent and has created long wait times for applicants to get a green card and families to be re-united. H.R 3012 brings fairness to the Family-Based Green Card system as well by increasing per-country limits from 7 to 15%, thereby reducing wait times in half!

Removal of the Per-Country Limit Is a Common Sense Fix to a Pressing Problem

Elimination of the discriminatory per-country limit is a crucial technical fix that will go a long way toward reducing the green card backlog situation. This fix will not alter the current overall annual numerical cap on employment-sponsored immigrant visas, nor would it alter the job-specific requirements and U.S. job market protections that apply when a U.S. employer wishes to sponsor a foreign professional for a green card. All that the removal of per-country limits accomplishes is to make the existing green card queue fair and first come, first served. This technical fix will provide real relief to almost half a million high-skilled immigrants and their families who have been stuck in a limbo for close to a decade.

The proposal to phase out per-country caps for high-skilled immigrants has won strong support across the political spectrum from Democrats and Republicans alike. On November 29,2011 the House of Representatives passed the bill H.R.3012, the Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act, by an overwhelming vote of 389 to 15. The bill makes a minor technical fix that would reduce these enormous backlogs without adding a single additional green card to the system. The Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act would gradually phase out the per-country caps for employment-based immigrants, transitioning to a system in which the critical factor is the skills an immigrant contributes to the U.S. rather than an individual's country of birth. Additionally, the bill would increase the per-country limits from 7% to 15% in the family-based immigration system, helping to reduce huge backlogs faced by many legal immigrants in the family-based system. Again, not a single additional green card would be granted under the bill.

This same provision to eliminate per-country caps for employment-based visas already enjoys strong bipartisan support in the Senate. Senator Lee has introduced S.1857, a companion bill to the House-passed legislation, and similar provisions are included in S. 1866, the AGREE Act introduced by Senators Coons and Rubio.

Discriminatory Per-Country Limits Harm America’s Competitiveness

Per-country limits are discriminatory in nature because any two individuals with same talent and skills, but from different country of origin, are treated differently by the system. Employers cannot discriminate based on country of origin, while hiring potential employees. Therefore, employment-based immigration, which is a derivative benefit of employment, should not discriminate as well. One million legal immigrants now find themselves trapped in this broken system, and increasing numbers are choosing to leave the country rather than continue to wait. While stuck in the green-card backlog, immigrants may be unable to change jobs, receive promotions or pay increases or travel freely. Additionally, their family members may be unable to work, and many children will “age out” before their parents receive green cards, leaving them without a path to permanent residence in the U.S. despite the fact that they may have lived here legally for many years and easily would have obtained green cards but for the extreme backlogs. Canada and Western Europe actively recruit this same talent pool and, particularly as the Chinese and Indian economies continue to grow rapidly; many individuals are choosing to return to their countries of origin. Given the pace of technological change and the relatively short window of opportunity to build careers, expecting skilled professionals to remain in holding patterns for 10 to 30 years is unrealistic. A March 2009 report from Duke University and University of California, Berkeley surveyed more than 1,200 international students and concluded that the long wait times in the high-skilled green card system will result in fewer outstanding international students, researchers and professionals wanting to stay and work in America or, equally important, believing they will be able to make their careers here. Such students take back the knowledge and research experience obtained in leading American universities, while experienced professionals take back the technical knowledge and experience gathered in American companies. We are training the world’s best and brightest and then sending them home to compete against us.

Perhaps most disturbing is the impact on would-be entrepreneurs. Current rules strictly prohibit those stuck in the backlog from starting their own companies in the U.S. Those immigrants who have an idea for a business or make a technological breakthrough must leave the country and start their companies abroad.

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