House Votes to End Per-Country Limits for Skilled Workers Seeking Green Cards

Last week, the house voted 389-15 to end per-country limits on worker based immigration visas, a move that will benefit skilled Indian and
Chinese residents seeking to stay in the United States.  The bad news is that foreign workers from other countries will now be subject to several year waits in the previously available “second-preference” category.

The measure would eliminate a current provision in the law that provides that employment based visas to any one country cannot exceed seven
percent of the total 140,000 allocated each fiscal year.

Although this provision will benefit those from over-subscribed countries such as India and China, those from “All Other
Countries” in the second preference category which previously did not have to wait for a current visa number to file their adjustment of status applications,
may now need to wait several years for a visa number before filing their applications for permanent residency.  Please see the current State Department visa bulletin which outlines which individuals may file their permanent residency applications each month based on their country of birth and priority date (date labor certification or immigrant visa petition is filed):

For more information about visa numbers and the current visa allocation visit the Immigrant Visa page of our website.

This bill must now pass the Senate and be signed by President Obama, but given the limited opposition to its passage in the House, it has a very real chance of becoming law in the short term.