Two bills introduced concerning employment and family based visa numbers

On 23rd April 2008, Democratic Representative Zoe Lofgren (CA) introduced a bill to recapture employment-based immigrant visa numbers that are currently lying unused and will be lost due to backlogs and bureaucratic delays. The bill also includes provisions to prevent any such loss of visa numbers for both family and employment based immigrant categories in future.

These is not the first time any such bill has been introduced. As a matter of fact, a number of similar legislative bills are pending in the Congress. The number of “lost” visa numbers is quite staggering actually. While the annual cap for employment based immigrant number is 140,000, the number of visas lost due to bureaucratic delays till now amounts to approximately 218,000 i.e. more then double.

Read the Bill Text H.R. 5882

Second Bill Introduced By Rep. Lofgren

Representative Lofgren introduced another bill to the congress on 29th April 2008, which proposes to eliminate the per country level for employment-based immigrants and to end the spill-over of unused immigrant visa numbers between employment-based and family-sponsored categories. The bill is co-sponsored by Republican Rep. Bob Goodlatte (VA). According to Rep. Lofgren’s website the Bill is aimed at eliminating the arbitrary per-country caps for employment-based immigrants.

Lofgren argues that the current EB quota which caps at 7% the number of employment-based immigrants that can come from any one country during the year is flawed as it ignores the possibility that some countries can have more eligible candidates than others. The Bill proposes to allot numbers based on merit rather than geography. The bill also makes provisions to “roll over” unused green cards to the subsequent fiscal year.

Read the Bill Text H.R. 5921