Indians may soon get green cards by paying a super-fee
MUMBAI: The Indian diaspora can now jump the green card backlog queue on payment of a supplemental fee (commonly referred to as a super-fee) and obtain their permanent visas.
Similarly, legal dreamers (children of H-1B holders who have aged out or will age out, and who have turned 21) will also get a chance to obtain permanent residency and citizenship, according to the portion of the Reconciliation Bill released by the US House Judiciary Committee, which has jurisdiction over immigration.
The Bill, however, does not seek to eliminate country caps for green cards, or increase the annual quota of H-1B visas.
Cyrus D Mehta, founder of a New York immigration law firm, told TOI, “This is a terrific bill. While it does not have everything, it would allow Indians in the employment green card backlogs to seek a waiver of the numerical limitations by paying a super fee of $5000 at the time of filing their final adjustment of status applications and get green cards.”
Annually, the US sets aside only 1.40 lakh green cards for employment-based applicants and there is a 7% cap per country. Given the heavy influx of Indians in the US — majority of them holding an H-1B visa — this restrictive policy poses challenges.
According to a study by David J Bier, Immigration Policy Analyst at Cato Institute, a Washington-headquartered think-tank, the employment-based green card backlog (EB2 and EB3 skilled category) for those from India had reached 7.41 lakh in April 2020 and had an expected wait time of 84 years.
In the context of this Bill, Bier tweeted, “Employment-based applicants can adjust if they have waited two years from their priority date…This is almost like abolishing the employment-based caps for adjustment applicants who can pay $ 5000. Awesome!”
Mehta adds, “Many Indians facing backlogs may also qualify under the essential worker provision, which is more generous as it does not need an employer to sponsor them or for them to pay the super fee of $5000.” However, it appears that a fee of $1500 would be payable. Essential workers qualify based on “consistent” income in an essential job between January 31, 2020 and August 24, 2021. The list of essential workers is quite exhaustive and includes those from IT, healthcare, food and agriculture and transport industries, to name a few…Read more>>