US says merit-based immigration will end green card backlog; Indians may benefit

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Washington: US President Donald Trump’s immigration framework will end the diversity lottery visa to help reduce green card backlog of high-skilled workers, the White House said today amid growing demands by Indian H-1B visa holders to remove the per country-limit on its allotment.

Indian-Americans, most of whom are highly skilled and come to the US mainly on H-1B work visas are the worst sufferers of the current immigration system which imposes a seven per cent per country quota on allotment of green cards or permanent legal residency.

As a result, the current wait period for Indian skilled immigrants for green card can be as long as 70 years.

Over the last one week, many Indian skilled immigrants gathered in Washington DC from various parts of the US to ask the Trump Administration and Congress to remove this major anomaly in the immigration system.

“President Trump’s framework would end the visa lottery programme and reallocate some of the visas to help reduce backlog of high-skilled, employment-based immigrant cases,” the White House said in a fact sheet titled ‘ending the economic harm caused by our immigration system’.

Later in the evening, Trump called for ending the visa lottery system.

“Time to end the visa lottery. Congress must secure the immigration system and protect Americans,” he tweeted.

The White House said Trump favoured a merit-based immigration system, which attracts the best and the brightest from across the world.

“I think the president wants to see legal immigration reform. He wants to see us move from a process that currently exists in law of extended family chain migration toward merit-based immigration reforms,” White House Deputy Press Secretary Raj Shah told reporters during his first ever White House press conference.

He said the Trump administration wanted to ensure that people coming into the country are the best and the brightest, regardless of nationality, creed, religion, or anything else in between.

“We want to look at the educational backgrounds, ability to contribute to the workforce in a way that helps American workers. So the president wants to see reforms that improve America’s economy,” Shah said.

According to Senate Republican Policy Committee, every year the US on an average allocates some 50,000 green cards through lottery for people from countries who do not get an opportunity to come to the US through the merit-based employment visas.

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