Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the bipartisan Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act (H.R.1044). The legislation addresses the decades-long wait times for applicants from places like India, China, or the Philippines by eliminating caps for employment-based visas and raising the family visa cap from 7 percent to 15 percent. Many of the impacted applicants already live and work in America and are doctors, engineers, and scientists who studied in American universities. They have faced decades-long wait times for permanent residence and as a result, have decided to relocate to other countries, subsequently hurting the future of the U.S. economy. New American Economy (NAE) issued the following statement in support of the legislation:
“This legislation is an important step in creating an immigration system that allows the most talented workers to work in the United States,” said John Feinblatt, President of New American Economy. “We applaud the House for taking action and urge the Senate to follow suit and remove undue barriers that restrict the U.S. economy from reaching its full potential.”
New research from New American Economy finds that:
- Indian, Chinese, Filipino, and Vietnamese immigrants are disproportionately affected by country caps and the backlog in permanent residency applications. Of the nearly 400,000 green card applications that were in the backlog as of April 2018, over 95 percent hailed from India, China, the Philippines, and Vietnam.
- Immigrants from countries most directly affected by the current per-country cap are well-educated. Nearly 80 percent of Indian immigrants have bachelor’s degrees and more than 27 percent of Chinese immigrants have advanced degrees.
- The immigrants who may be positively impacted by this legislation will contribute substantially to the American economy. Indian immigrant households earned nearly $162.6 billion and paid more than $50.0 billion in federal, state, and local taxes in 2017, and Chinese immigrant households earned nearly $116.9 billion in 2017 and paid more than $34.9 billion in taxes. Filipino and Vietnamese immigrants also made significant contributions to the U.S. economy, paying more than $20.5 billion $11.9 billion in taxes respectively and holding more than $53.5 billion and $33.2 billion in spending power respectively.