Biden to boost migrant worker visa rights

Lev Radin / Shutterstock

US President Joe Biden has introduced legislation to reform immigration, which would increase the numbers of foreign specialists working in the country who could eventually gain citizenship.

It could also, in the long term, see citizenship achieved by the 10-12 million undocumented immigrants living in the US.

The proposals would also speed up the granting of green card eligibility to “dreamers” – undocumented immigrants brought into the country as children – as well as those under temporary protected status and immigrant farmworkers.

The new president additionally reversed several Donald Trump immigration policies by executive action.

The US Citizenship Act of 2021 could see undocumented immigrants allowed to apply for temporary legal status, and give them the ability to apply for green cards after five years if they passed background checks and paid taxes.

Dreamers, temporary protected status holders and immigrant farm workers who meet specific requirements would be eligible for green cards immediately under the legislation. After three years, these green card holders could apply for citizenship.

The act would also increase the number of diversity visas (also known as the green card lottery) issued from 55,000 to 80,000 and eliminate the three- and 10-year bans that prevent people from re-entering the US if they had left the country after being there illegally.

It would alter immigration laws to use the word “noncitizen” instead of “alien”.

The green card lottery is aimed at diversifying the immigrant population in the US, by selecting applicants from countries with low numbers of immigrants in the previous five years. Around 12 million people applied for the lottery in 2019.

But among the most important proposals in the bill were measures designed to incentivise higher wages for workers with H-1B non-immigrant visas so as not to displace existing US workers.

The H-1B visa remains the most practical way for many people to work long-term in the US, including international students. The visa is designed for businesses that need foreign specialists on a temporary basis. It is thought, for example, that the move would benefit thousands of IT professionals in the US who had travelled from Asia, Africa and Europe.

Securing the country’s global talent pipeline so workers educated and trained in the US can contribute their talents to the US economy is more important than ever” – Emily M Dickens, SHRM

Also, about 75% of full-time graduate students in key technology areas at US universities are international students.

Biden proposed that the rule requiring selection of H-1B workers based upon highest salary should be frozen until at least 21 March 2021 and the rule redefining employer-employee relationships for H-1B purposes should be withdrawn.

It is thought that Trump had reduced legal immigration by 49% with the restrictions placed on H-1B visas having serious ramifications for the US in that skilled jobs were being pushed outside the US.

US HR body, the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), together with the US Chamber of Commerce and other business groups have voiced support for measures in the Biden plan, including putting dreamers on a path to citizenship and reforming the visa system.

“As workplaces evolve, securing the country’s global talent pipeline so workers educated and trained in the US can contribute their talents to the US economy is more important than ever,” said Emily M Dickens, SHRM’s chief of staff. “We look forward to working with the Biden administration and new Congress to shape policy solutions that provide critical, work-authorised talent, protect American workers and modernise workplace immigration.”

If the bill passes, it would usher in the biggest changes for immigrants since 1986, when Ronald Reagan signed legislation granting legal status to three million people who were in the country without documentation.

The plans may face considerable opposition in the congress and senate, where at least 10 Republicans would have to join all 50 Democrats to overcome a filibuster. Senator Ted Cruz has already voiced his opposition. President Biden has already said that his administration may not be able to pass the full bill in the first 100 days of his term.

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12 Responses to Biden to boost migrant worker visa rights

  1. Avatar
    stevie wonderer 23 Jan 2021 at 1:16 am #

    So you are rooting for “….free” cheap international labor? Keep on working against the interests of your local labor/working class, screwing the middle class, create unemployed masses and you will see the results very soon…95 million are out of the job market in the US, and a smaller but comparable number in EU, many with skills and degrees that were working until replaced by 3rd worlders…F..k you idiots.

    • Avatar
      Joe Craven 1 Feb 2021 at 9:51 pm #

      oh yeah because me a highly skilled degree holder with years of experience in my field who has dreams of making a life in america with his US citizen( by birth )partner is really going to be stealing a job from the local working class. Work Visa and employment sponsorship have a long list of criteria that must be met before they are issued and even if you meet the criteria there is no guarantee that you will get one. Biden is increasing the number of Visa’s available and giving rights that should already be there to people on them. he’s not making it easier for low skilled cheap labor to enter the US.

      You obviously have no idea what you are taking about and have done no research on this and just believed what the media have fed you.

      Stop being a sheep and look into things for your self, and realise the truth.

      • Avatar
        Franklyn Lansana Kaba 5 Feb 2021 at 10:36 pm #

        Wow! I hope the dv lottery program should be an objective

  2. Avatar
    WILLIAM LWANGA 24 Jan 2021 at 2:26 pm #

    If the democrats succed this would help majority who want to start a new life in the states.

    • Avatar
      Robert Ellis 29 Jan 2021 at 9:38 pm #

      Mr. Lwanga, there is a majority here in the states desperate to regain our old lives. We are hurting more than people realize and are worried about our future and our children. Many of us are desperate to get back to work and feel blindsided that the administration is doing this. It isn’t supposed to be about other people’s dreams… it should be about taking care of your people. This is a move to provide cheap labor to corps and appease the progressive agenda. I hate politics and don’t have a “side”, but I do have a family to feed. I do industrial automation work ( laid off in December ) and my job can now be replaced by a h1b visa holder who will do my job for 30% less pay. This is not right.

      • Avatar
        Joe Craven 1 Feb 2021 at 9:54 pm #

        amazing you would say that Mr Ellis, when one of the criteria for a H1b visa is that the wages being offered are above the national average for the role and proof that an in country citizen can’t do the same job for second through 5th choice h1b visa’s

        only a first preference H1b visa would not require this check but those are reserved for the elite people in there fields people who hold PHD’s and are industry leaders, not anyone who would be able to do your job for 30% less

  3. Avatar
    Musbau Lasisi 25 Jan 2021 at 2:06 pm #

    May The Good Lord help them implement this type of laudable policy.

  4. Avatar
    Gabriel Nmah, Sr. 25 Jan 2021 at 2:58 pm #

    Though, I am a pro-republican. But this move by President Biden is highly welcoming and deserves a thunderous applause or hallelujah!

    The “noncitizens” instead of “aliens”, will now truly dream their dreams in sleep and practicalize or actualize it the American Way (“The American Dream”)!

    Thanks to all Americans (and the Real “Josephs the dreamers!”).

    Remember, it’s about the US and her people and for the purpose she stands when it comes to humanity.

    Gabriel Nmah, Sr.

    Monrovia, Liberia

  5. Avatar
    Simplice Irakoze 2 Feb 2021 at 5:15 am #

    Long life for our Président Joe Biden God continue to bless you

  6. Avatar
    Amadou Jean-Baptiste Diedhiou 16 Feb 2021 at 12:41 am #

    Congratulations Joe Biden my President
    More life !

    • Avatar
      Cecilia colette bongben 22 Feb 2021 at 12:17 pm #

      Congratulations our president l pray am selected so that l can fulfill my dreams of leaving in America 🙏

  7. Avatar
    gold faucet 5 Mar 2021 at 9:59 am #

    I like this man. Seems he know pretty well. At least way better than trump

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