The immigration legislation, bill H.R. 3012, the Fairness for High Skilled Immigrants Act, which would place an end to per-country caps on worker-based immigration visas has reached a road block. The bill passed with overwhelming support in the House in November, but has been put on hold by Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA) who has blocked the bill from coming to a vote in the Senate. Under the proposed legislation, the number of allotted immigrant visas would remain the same, but the elimination of the per-country cap (9,800 per country) would mean that permanent residence visas would be awarded on a first-come, first served basis. Skilled workers from countries such as India and China would benefit as they are currently subject to the longest waits.
Senator Grassley stated that he has placed the bill on hold due to his concerns about “future immigration flows” and the impact it may have on Americans seeking high-skilled jobs in the U.S. Unless substantial changes are made to the bill, he does not plan on removing his hold. Since the legislation needs to be approved by the Senate and then signed into law by the President, we will have to continue to wait and see as the fate of the bill appears to currently lie in the hands of this one Senator.