Bill introduced in US House to eliminate visa backlogs

by IANS |

New York, March 11 (IANS) A bipartisan bill has been introduced in the US House of Representatives to properly utilise the employment-based visas currently allocated each year under existing federal immigration law.

Democrat Indian-American Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi and Republican Larry Bucshon introduced the Eliminating Backlogs Act of 2023 to provide "greater flexibility to use existing allotted work visas".

This legislation would give greater flexibility to use existing allotted work visas that employers desperately need, but does not change the overall number of visas available.

"Even as our country's high-skilled immigration system helps us draw top talent from around the world, current law caps the number of employment-based visas available based on workers' country of origin, leaving thousands of visas that would otherwise help our economy unused," Krishnamoorthi said.

The bipartisan bill, according to Krishnamoorthi, will end country-based discrimination in high-skilled immigration.

It will ensure every allotted visa is used to draw skilled workers from across the globe to help strengthen the US economy and create jobs as America also continue to invest in their domestic workforce.

Under current federal immigration law, there are a certain number of visas allocated annually for skilled workers, such as doctors and engineers, to ensure our workforce can meet the demands of the US economy in Indiana and across the country.

"Unfortunately, bureaucratic policies and delays have prevented hundreds of thousands of these visas from being used, despite a serious need for more skilled workers across our nation," Bucshon said.

The bill will help to "eliminate this backlog and ensure that visas allocated under existing federal immigration law can be properly used. This will help support an immigration system that incentivizes and rewards legal applicants and boosts our economy", Bucshon added.

Every year Congress allows for a set number of foreign nationals with specific skills and training to come to the US for work.

This helps ensure that American businesses have access to the skilled labour force they need to succeed.

Each nation is capped at receiving only seven percent of the allotted employment-based slots in any year.

Due to this per-country limitation and bureaucratic delays, US immigration officials failed to utilise approximately 9,100 employment-based visas in FY2020 and over 66,000 in FY2021.

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