The bill that ends employment-based visas caps and changes family-based visas caps per country has been passed by the House on November 29, 2011. The legislation, which passed 389-15, would eliminate the limit for worker-based immigration visas per country set by the current law. The number of worker-based visas is no longer required to be no more than 7 percent of the total number of such visas given out. Instead, permanent residence visas or green cards would be handled on a first-come, first-served basis.
As Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah indicated, the bill would encourage high-skilled immigrants who were educated in the U.S. to stay and contribute to the U.S. economy rather than work in other countries using skills they learned from the U.S. There are currently about 140,000 green cards issued a year to immigrants working in the U.S. with degrees from U.S. universities.
It is said that skilled workers seeking to stay in the U.S. from India and China, two large countries that account for more than 40 percent of the world's population, and high-tech companies would benefit from the change. Also under the approved legislation, the family-based visa limits would increase from 7 percent to 15 percent per country. The change could slightly ease the backlog for naturalized citizens, particularly from Mexico and the Philippines, trying to bring relatives into the U.S.
"This will significantly shorten the wait for the people in the family queues," stated Tamar Jacoby, president of ImmigrationWorks USA, a national federation of small business owners working for changes in immigration laws.