Of all the places in the world Indians immigrate to, the US has always been on the top of the list. It is not always easy to visit or live in the US, however, a new immigration policy, which was supported by the EAGLE Act, attempted to make things better. But the Act is now facing a setback as it is failing to pass through the House.
If passed, the legislation would allow US employers to focus on recruiting people based on ‘merit‘ over ‘birthplace‘, and is likely to benefit Indians.
This would benefit millions of Indians who are working in the US with H and L visas for work permits and do not have green cards. Not everyone can own a green card as the US laws limit the number of people who can own a green card from one country.
This legislation would be life-changing for hundreds of thousands of immigrants currently stuck in legal limbo as they wait for green cards
– Neil Makhija, Indian American politician, Democratic Party
What is the Eagle Act? Zoe Lofgren, a politician from the Democratic Party presented the Eagle Act, also known as the Equal Access to Green Cards for Legal Employment Act 2022, in the US House of Representatives, with the goal of changing the standards for work-related visas and phasing out the per-country limitations on employment-based green cards.
Immigrants keep our economy growing, our communities thriving, and our country moving forward
– Excerpts from the bill
How? This would have been done by eliminating the “per country” bar on employment-based immigration visas, the bill would have allowed US firms to “concentrate on employing immigrants based on talent, not their birthplace” (green cards).
- The Act would also improve the H-1B specialty occupation visa program. This would be done by bolstering the recruitment requirements, strengthening protections for US workers and boosting transparency, among others.
India and China’s green card backlogs are the worst: The US issue 140,000 green cards for employment in the country, with most applications received from India, but since there is a limit on the number of green cards issued per nation, Indian migrants face significant delays in obtaining green cards or work visas.
Out of all the green card applications received, only 7 per cent can be provided to a single country by the US.
CATO reports of 2020 state that the worst countries hit by this kind of backlog are China and India. ‘
200,000 petitions filed for Indians could expire as a result of the workers dying of old age before they receive a green card
– Excerpts from the CATO report
Indian Americans have a population of more than four and a half million, makes up 1.4% of the US population and are the largest group of South Asian Americans, as of 2022.