NRIs happy with Joe Biden’s Immigration Overhaul
Joe Biden is looking into ways to clear a path to citizenship to 11 million immigrants
One of the first moves after Joe Biden’s inauguration as the 46th President of United States of America in a bid to fulfill one of his core campaign promises has been his much debated immigration overhaul. This seems to be a good move for Indians especially from the Information Technology sector.
The new US president Joe Biden has been a supporter of allowing more skilled foreign workers into the US. A proposal was sent to the Congress on his very first day in office looking into ways to clear a faster path to citizenship to 11 million undocumented immigrants in the US. Also looking for ways to smoothen the entry of more foreign students and workers into US by increasing the number of employment based green cards.
Businesses in US, especially those in the Technology, which will be the biggest beneficiary of this new move are happy since they will be able to increase the supply of skilled tech workers. This coupled with not raising the caps on H1B Visa for high skilled workers would help them.
Technology heavy companies have for years been requesting that more tech workers be allowed in US. Their concern is that there aren’t enough skilled Americans and they be allowed to hire Engineers from countries like India. But Unions and Immigrations Opponents have argued that it is only a ploy to hire foreigners at lower salaries and to overlook American talent. They quote the data on the number of technology graduates.
This move but finds two potential opponents on either side of the political spectrum and Joe Biden has to take them seriously. On one side are the Republicans (Right end of the political spectrum) who might be on the offensive, moreso with Trump’s impending impeachment due to the raid on Capitol on January 6th and the last administration’s looking-inward thought process, where the erstwhile President and his colleagues have demonised the word “immigrants” and don’t want an “amnesty” for them.
On the other hand, the left of the spectrum, by labour groups which has gained heat due to the low employment numbers after the CoVid 19 aftermath. Intending not to get into a conflict with the organised Labour Unions Biden is trying not to increase the H1B Visa quota and instead eliminating a decades-long backlog of people waiting for employment-based green cards, which grants permanent legal residence and are capped at 140,000 per year under current law.
The plan also acknowledges concerns of labour groups by granting the Department of Homeland Security the power to raise or lower the number of green cards available based on economic conditions and enact rules to encourage "higher wages for non-immigrant, high-skilled visas to prevent unfair competition with American worker." On this so far most Unions including AFL-CIO and Service Employees International Union seem to be backing Biden.
Since Biden’s new policy has been in response to the Business Groups requests, Pressure groups are active with Business Group including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Business Roundtable and FWD.us who are trying to placate the Republicans for a bipartisan consensus, both in the House and the Senate. They are trying a convergence on the complete package, including keeping science-technology-engineering-math graduates in the U.S.; providing legal status for so-called Dreamers, undocumented immigrants brought to the country as children; and streamlining the employment-based visa system.
Biden's proposes to recapture unused visas from prior years and eliminate per-country caps for employment-based green cards, has brought cheer to the Indian community in the US which could be the highest beneficiary. Indian information technology professionals who sometimes wait decades to gain permanent U.S. residence will reap rich benefits. The plan would also exempt spouses and children of green-card holders from the annual quota, which some advocates estimate could double the number of employment-based cards.