Why in News:

  • U.S. President Donald Trump announces new points-based green card system.


  • U.S. President announced a proposal that will include significant changes to the way green cards are allocated, by dramatically reducing the number of family-based green cards and moving towards a points-based (“merit-based”) system
  • This will reward education, skills and English language proficiency.
  • The plan, which the President outlined at a Rose Garden gathering, with senior administration officials and influential Hill Republicans in attendance, sought to boost border security and tighten asylum procedures.
  • Currently about 12% of those receiving green cards entered the U.S. based on skill-based visas (such as the H1B), while some 66% are family-based green cards. The new proposal will increase skills-based green cards to 57%.
  • People given Green Cards on humanitarian and diversity grounds will now only constitute 10% of all Green Card recipients.

Impacts on Indians:

  • The proposals, if they eventually turn into law, are likely to have a significant impact on Indians who interact with the U.S. immigration system.
  • A large majority (over 70%) of H1B visas, for skilled workers, went to Indians in fiscal year 2018. Many of these are eventually converted to green cards.
  • Indian residents getting green cards have been in the range of 57,000-62,000 in the 2015-2017 period.
  • It is far from clear that a shift towards a points-based system will make the prospects of Indian skilled migrants wanting to settle in the U.S.
  • Easier, as bringing family members over, especially elderly parents, may get more complicated. Because spouse and children may get special previledge according to trump proposal.

Way forward:

  • If Trump’s plan became law, millions of U.S. citizens and permanent residents—including those who first arrived as H-1B workers—would no longer be able live in America with their parents and children.
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