0.1613
900 319 0030
x

US Government’s EAGLE Act

iasparliament Logo
December 17, 2022

Why in news?

Recently, the White House supported the US Congress pass a legislation whose aim is to eliminate the per-country quota on issuing green cards and the House of Representatives will soon vote on the EAGLE Act of 2022.

What is a Green card?

  • Green card is officially known as a Permanent Resident Card.
  • It is issued to immigrants, allows them to live and work in the United States on a permanent basis.
  • The card serves as evidence that the holder has been accorded the privilege of residing permanently.

Benefits of having a green card

  • Provides a pathway to citizenship
  • Can sponsor immediate family members for the same card
  • Provides easy access to US’ social security system as also education assistance
  • Travel to and from the country becomes much easier
  • Can choose to live anywhere in the US
  • More freedom in terms of career opportunities as one can apply for a wide variety of jobs
  • Can also have some amount of engagement in the political process of the country

Once issued, a Green Card is valid for 10 years. A Green Card holder can apply for US citizenship after 5 years of permanent residency.

What is H.R. 3648, or the EAGLE Act of 2022?

  • The Equal Access to Green Card for Legal Employment (EAGLE) Act or HR 3648 will allow US employers to hire immigrants on the basis of “merit, not their birthplace”.
  • Existing law - The limit of green card allotment annually depends on the country of birth of an immigrant, not their nationality.
  • As per the law, any country is eligible for up to 7% of green cards per year.
  • Objectives
    • To allow US employers to focus on hiring immigrants based on merit by eliminating the “per country” limitation on employment-based immigrant visas (green cards)
    • To improve the H-1B specialty occupation visa program by bolstering the recruitment requirements and strengthening protections for US workers and boosting transparency
    • To resolve the major issue of the green card processing backlog
  • Features - H.R. 3648 also includes important provisions to allow individuals who have been waiting in the immigrant visa backlog for 2 years to file their green card applications.
  • The transition will take place over 9 years so that no countries are excluded from receiving visas while the per-country caps are phased out.
  • The bill will also increase the limit on family-based visas from 7 % to 15 %.
  • Impact - This will reduce the impact of the limitiation on less-populated countries and ensure that eligible immigrants from these countries are not excluded.
  • Although the applications could not be approved until a visa becomes available, this would provide employment based immigrants with additional flexibilities in changing employers or starting a business.

What will be the impact of the legislation on people from India?

According to the CATO report of 2020, in the United States, 75% of the employmentbased backlog was made up by skilled Indian workers.

  • The existing law limits skilled citizens from large population countries like China and India from getting permanent residency in the US.
  • Immigrants from these countries are forced to wait 20 to 30 times longer for lawful permanent residency status compared to countries with a smaller population.
  • According to data released by the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), nearly 370,000 Indians were awaiting visa availability, most of whom were in the professionals and skilled workers category.
  • Benefit to people from India - It will benefit people from India seeking a permanent residence in the US as they will have to wait for shorter durations.
  • The Cato Institute said that the bill would raise the average wage of an employment-based immigrant by 12%.
  • Faster processing of the citizenship application will help immigrant workers to get protection from exploitation as they would not be completely dependent upon an employer for their legal stay.

h1b-visa

What does it have for Americans?

  • Skepticism - Several Americans said that this would encourage more foreigners to come to the US for residency.
  • This would lead to low-wage and low-skilled workers getting Green Cards.
  • Clauses for protecting Americans - Employers who hire foreign workers will have to advertise the jobs to American workers for at least 30 calendar days to ensure American workers can get the first crack.
  • It also offers whistleblower protections for employees to report illegal employer behaviour to the US government.
  • The Act will also make it illegal for jobs to be advertised as "only available to H-1B workers" to ensure that H-1B workers are not given a preference over American workers.

 

References

  1. The Indian Express | The US Government’s EAGLE Act
  2. Business Standard | All you need to know about the new EAGLE Act
Login or Register to Post Comments
There are no reviews yet. Be the first one to review.

ARCHIVES

MONTH/YEARWISE ARCHIVES

Free UPSC Interview Guidance Programme