Washington, DC: Former US Vice President Joe Biden, who is Democratic Party candidate for the president of United States in November elections, announced an immigration agenda that will end the country-wise green card caps for employment visas so that wait times stretching to decades for Indians can be reduced if he is elected.
His plan will also link H1-B visas to wages while increasing the number of such visas.
The Plan, which could be the basis of his manifesto for the November election, seeks overall to liberalize immigration to the US and increase the number of immigrants.
“Biden will support expanding the number of high-skilled visas and eliminating the limits on employment-based visas by country, which create unacceptably long backlogs,” according to the Plan.
The total annual cap on green cards available for Indians is 20,000 leading to wait times stretching to decades.
The plan said, “Currently, the number of employment-based visas is capped at 140,000 each year, without the ability to be responsive to the state of the labor market or demands from domestic employers. As president, Biden will work with Congress to increase the number of visas awarded for permanent, employment-based immigration and promote mechanisms to temporarily reduce the number of visas during times of high US unemployment.”
The Plan says that to ensure that those getting H1-Bs do not compete for entry level jobs or work against recruiting workers already in the US, the visas would be linked to wages.
The Plan said, “High skilled temporary visas should not be used to disincentivize recruiting workers already in the U.S. for in-demand occupations. An immigration system that crowds out high-skilled workers in favor of only entry level wages and skills threatens American innovation and competitiveness.”
“Biden will work with Congress to first reform temporary visas to establish a wage-based allocation process and establish enforcement mechanisms to ensure they are aligned with the labor market and not used to undermine wages,” it added.
Biden wants to exempt foreign students getting PhD degrees in science, engineering, technology and maths in the US from visa caps and automatically give green cards to those getting doctorates.
“Biden believes that foreign graduates of a US doctoral program should be given a green card with their degree and that losing these highly trained workers to foreign economies is a disservice to our own economic competitiveness,” his plan said.
He also wants to introduce a new category of immigrant visas that would be awarded through cities and local administrations facing shrinking populations and lacking entrepreneurs on the condition that those getting them settle in those areas. “Biden will support a program to allow any county or municipal executive of a large or midsize county or city to petition for additional immigrant visas to support the region’s economic development strategy, provided employers in those regions certify there are available jobs, and that there are no workers to fill them,” the Plan said.
Applicants approved for family green cards will be given temporary visas under the program and spouses and children of green card-holders will be exempt from limits on permanent resident visas, under the Biden Plan.
Biden will also work with Congress to forge a system for the estimated 11 million illegal immigrants to get citizenship, the Plan said.
Other elements of the Biden plan include lifting the visa ban on some countries imposed by Trump and increasing the number of refugees allowed into the country.