Indian-American Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi recently has proposed a bill to the House floor which will give H-1B workers to ability to move between jobs and reduce the long wait for Green Card through expansion of certain educational exemptions for per-country caps on immigration. The bill, called ‘Immigration Innovation Act of 2018,’ attempts to streamline many of the inefficiencies with the current H-1B visa program. The hope is that this bill will spur additional investment in American STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) Education for college & post-graduate students.
How Does this Bill Work?
The Immigration Innovation Act of 2018 will distribute fees collected from H-1B visa & Green Card applications to state-based funds used to promote STEM education & research initiatives. Moreover, the bill will act to remove existing annual cap of 20,000 for H-1B visa holders who have a US master’s degree or higher. The bill will create a stratified lottery system where US-Based Master’s degree holders or higher have the highest chance of obtaining a visa, followed by foreign PhDs, and then US STEM bachelor’s degree holders.
The bill will propose an elimination of the per-country cap for employment-based green card application. Additionally, it will adjust the per-country limitation for family-based green cards and allows for the reassignment of unused visas from previous years. Additionally, the bill will creates a separate Green Card category to allow US employers to sponsor university-educated foreign professionals separate from the traditional H1-B visa path.
Implications of Innovation
Currently, wait times for Green Cards applicants are almost 6 years & the wait jumps to 10 years for Green Card applicants who are sponsored by employers. The Immigration Innovation Act of 2018 will lower wait times dramatically for those hoping to get a Green Card. Moreover, this bill will provide better flexibility for those hoping to change jobs and move forward with the career path.
However, one implication on this bill is health insurance. The bill does not have any content regarding the health insurance coverage for H1-B visa workers. A recent mandate by the Trump administration greatly limits not only the scope of government healthcare (Obamacare), but restricts its access to H-1B visa holders and green card applicants. We suggest purchasing a gap coverage from India Network Health Insurance. India Network offers affordable health insurance for short periods (5 days – 1 year) and covers any sickness or accident. More information on these programs can be found here.