Merit Visas in The New CIR

Thứ Tư, 22 Tháng Năm 201300:00(Xem: 28606)
Merit Visas in The New CIR
U.S. immigration priorities are changing. If the new CIR becomes law, preference will be given to better-educated and trained visa-seekers who can contribute to the American economy. Skills will be favored over certain family-based visa categories such as F3 and F4, and at the same time, more employment visas will be made available.

However, processing of visa applications for Immediate Relatives of US citizens (spouse, children, parents), will remain the same. The spouse and minor children of Green Card holders will join the Immediate Relative processing, so they will benefit from the new CIR.

Immigrants who would benefit most from this "merit-based" system would be mainly from Asia, especially India, China and the Philippines. Citizens of those countries are more likely to have attended college or have on-the-job training in skilled occupations such as engineering and technology. Mexicans and Central Americans will not be so successful in a merit-based system.

The new CIR bill proposed by four Democrats and four Republicans would make it harder for the siblings and adult children of citizens to get permanent residence visas. The new legislation would also eliminate the Green Card Lottery.

But the bill would create another way to get a green card, where immigrants would be awarded points based on other factors.

· level of education: 15 points for a doctorate degree, 10 points for a master’s degree, 5 points for a bachelor’s degree,
· employment experience: 3 or 4 points for each year working in US,
· entrepreneurship in business: Business owners get 10 points for employing at least 2 employees,
· English language proficiency: scoring 80+ on TOEFL or a similar test is worth 10 points and
· family ties: Siblings of US citizens or married children over 31 get 10 points

Merit-based visas would go first to applicants with the highest number of points.

If the new CIR becomes law, America would be like Canada and Australia that use a points system to attract skilled, educated workers. The last time we had major changes in the immigration system was in 1986. The legislation legalized the three-to-five million illegal immigrants in the country, the majority from Mexico. But it failed to create new ways for foreigners to come to United States legally.

One concern is that if the new CIR focuses on skilled, educated workers, there will not be enough visas available for low-skilled jobs. For example, by 2020, the U.S. economy will need at least three million additional workers to care for the elderly, do construction jobs, and prepare food. As the American population ages, demand for home health and personal care aides is expected to increase considerably.

Another concern is that the new system might also favor men over women because the point system favors people who have had access to education and work in the formal labor sector. Many women who are caregivers and caretakers for family members, and who are low-wage workers, will have difficulty qualifying for a Merit visa.

However, there will be a new non-immigrant W-visa program for low-wage foreign workers such as care-givers and those working in food preparation and construction jobs. Spouses and minor children are included and will receive work authorization. The W visa is a three year visa with three year renewal periods. W visa holders may switch from one employer to another without penalty and in some cases they may qualify to apply for a merit-based Green Card.

Q.1. Will citizens of Vietnam be eligible to apply for Merit visas?
A.1. Yes, citizens of any country will be able to apply for Merit visas.

Q.2. When will CIS start accepting applications for Merit visas?
A.2. Most sections of the Merit based visa system will go into effect five years after the new CIR becomes law.

Q.3. What about visa petitions like the F3 and F4 that have been on file with CIS for a long time?
A.3. Family-based petitions that were filed before the new CIR, and have

been pending for five years, will be eligible for Merit visas at the start of the fiscal year after the new CIR takes effect. If the new CIR becomes law during this summer, they will be eligible for Merit visas starting October 1st this year.

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