Here is a quick overview of the CIR bill. The complete CIR bill is 844 pages.
Please remember that each clause/amendment/item listed below MAY have a different effective date (ranging from immediate to 18+ months). We have listed some of the new effective dates below (but not all).
It is unknown whether many of these changes apply to new applicants only or would it be applicable to existing applications also.
Employment Based Immigration:
1. Following people are excluded from annual cap of 140,000 (unlimited visa)
a. All derivative beneficiaries (spouse and children)
b. All EB1 applicants
c. PhD holders (all fields)
d. Certain physician who have completed the foreign residency requirements under section 212(e) or obtained a waiver of these requirements or an exemption requested by an interested State agency or by an interested Federal agency under section 214(l)
e. Applicants with MS/PhD in STEM fields from accredited US institution + this degree received in less than 5 years from (I-140) petition filing date + have current job offer
All these applicants would not have to file PERM applications. They can directly file concurrent I-140 and I-485 application. They can also concurrently file EAD/AP application when filing I-485 application.
2. EB categories which are subject to annual cap of 140,000:
a. EB2 category: 40% (or 56,000 visas each year instead of 40,040) + unused EB5 visas
b. EB3 category: 40% (or 56,000 visas) + unused EB2 visas
c. EB4 category: 10% (or 14,000 visas) + unused EB3 visas
d. EB5 category: 10% (or 14,000 visas) + unused EB4 visas
e. EB1 category: Unlimited
3. Startup visas for foreign entrepreneurs.
4. Eliminate 7% per country cap; effective first FY from the date when this bill becomes law. This means if CIR passes after Oct 1 (FY2014), then this will be effective from FY 2015.
5. Recapture unused visas from 1992 to 2013 starting from FY 2015
Note: Beneficiaries currently account for 55% of total visas. Hence removing them from cap will increase visas for everyone by around 2.22 times. Example: Currently 100 visas are allotted to 45 primary applicants (and remaining 55 to their beneficiaries). Removing beneficiary from cap will allot all 100 visas to 100 primary applicants (and their 122 beneficiaries). Hence 222 allotted visas will actually use only 100 visas from USCIS (or 2.22 times more visas).
Merit Based Immigration (to be enacted 5 years later):
The merit based visa, created in the fifth year after enactment, awards points to individuals based on their education, employment, length of residence in the US and other considerations. Those individuals with the most points earn the visas. Those who access the merit based pathway to earn their visa are expected to be talented individuals, individuals in our worker programs and individuals with family here. 120,000 visas will be available per year based on merit. The number would increase by 5% per year if demand exceeds supply in any year where unemployment is under 8.5%. There will be a maximum cap of 250,000 visas.
Family Based Immigration:
1. Change annual cap from 226,000 to 161,000. Following is the allocation:
a. Unmarried adult children of U.S. citizen: 35%
b. Married adult children of U.S. citizen under age 31 at the time of filing: 25%
c. Unmarried adult children of lawful permanent resident: 40%
Annual cap change from 226,000 to 161,000 is effective 18 months after date of enactment. Though the annual cap will decrease, overall the number of family based immigration visas issued will increase (because of expanded definition of immediate relative).
2. Expand V visa to to allow following individuals with an approved family petition (I-130) to live in the U.S:
a. Unmarried adult children of permanent residents/U.S. citizen
b. Married adult children of U.S. citizen under 31 years at time of filing the petition.
3. No more visa for siblings (brothers/sisters) of U.S. citizens 18 months after enactment of CIR. Hence this will remove F4 category.
4. Immediate Relative now include a child or spouse of an alien admitted for lawful permanent residence.
5. Recapture unused visas from 1992 to 2013; effective first FY from the date when this bill becomes law
6. Increase per country cap from 7% to 15%.
Following applicants are excluded from annual FB cap (they have unlimited visas):
1. Spouses and minor children of permanent residents
2. Spouses and minor children of U.S. citizen
3. Parents of U.S. citizen
Note: If a U.S. citizen sponsors their parents, then they can also (indirectly) sponsor their minor sibling (brother/sister). This is because the minor sibling would be considered derivative beneficiary of parents and hence would be able to immigrate with them.
1. Repeal of Diversity Visa Program.
2. Winners of FY 2013 and FY 2014 DV will still be eligible to receive them.
Employment Verification (E-Verify):
All employers will be required to use the E-Verify system over a 5-year phase-in period. Employers with more than 5,000 employees will be phased in within 2 years. More than 500 employees will be phased in within 3 years. All employers, including agricultural employers, will be phased in within 4 years.
H-1B and L-1 Reform:
1. Raise the base cap of 65,000 to 110,000 and later to 180,000. Also update the current exemption from 20,000 to 25,000 for advanced degree graduates in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics from U.S. Schools.
2. Provide spouses of H-1B workers with work authorization if the sending country of the worker provides reciprocal treatment to spouses of U.S. workers. Sending country refers to applicants country of current citizenship (rather than country of birth, if they are different).
3. Establish a 60-day transition period for H-1B workers to change jobs
4. Restrictions for L-1 and H-1B Dependent Employers:
- Employers hiring 50 or more employees, out of which 30% are H-1B or L-1 employees (without pending GC petition): Additional $5,000 filing fees for each H-1B or L-1 petition
- Employers hiring 50 or more employees, out of which 50% are H-1B or L-1 employees (without pending GC petition): Additional $10,000 filing fees for each H-1B or L-1 petition.
- In Fiscal Year 2014, companies will be banned from bringing in any additional workers if more than 75% of their workers are H-1B or L-1 employees.
- In Fiscal Year 2015, the ban applies to companies if more than 65% of their workforce are H-1B and L-1 workers. In Fiscal Year 2016, the ban moves to 50%
1. Provide dual intent visas for all students who come here on bachelor’s degree programs or higher.
2. Make premium processing available for all EB immigrant petitions and related administrative appeals.
3. Reinstate visa revalidation in the United States for various nonimmigrant visas such as E, H, L, O, P. They would be eligible to seek a new visa within the United States if they are low-risk applicants.
4. Ireland citizens who have at least a high school education or two years of work experience are eligible for E-visa
5. O-1 non immigrants would be authorized to accept employment with a new employer upon the filing of a new O-1 petition (similar to H1 visa)
6. Non immigrant visa holders (E, H, J, L, O, P and TN) would be authorized to continue employment with the same employer while the employer’s application or petition for an extension of stay is pending. The provision would expand on current regulations, which allow up to 240 days of additional employment authorization during the pendency of a timely-filed extension.
1. The bill will appropriate up to $2 billion for DHS to implement the recommendations on manpower, technology, and infrastructure made by the Border Commission
2. Provide funding for 3,500 additional Customs agents (OFO Officers) nationwide
3. Provide Authorization for the National Guard to be deployed to the Southwest border
Illegal (Undocumented) Immigrants :
Create a new status called Registered Provisional Immigrant (RPI). Eligibility Criteria for RPI:
1. Residence in the United States prior to December 31, 2011 and maintenance of continuous physical presence since then.
2. Paid a $500 penalty fee (except for DREAM Act eligible students), and assessed taxes, per adult applicant in addition to all applicable fees required to pay for the cost of processing the application.
3. Committed no crime, did not vote in US elections, etc
After 10 years, aliens in RPI status may adjust to Lawful Permanent Resident Status through the same Merit Based System everyone else must use to earn a green card (described above) if the following things have occurred:
o The alien maintained continuous physical presence
o They paid all taxes owed during the period that they are in status as an RPI
o They worked in the United States regularly;
o And demonstrated knowledge of Civics and English
o All people currently waiting for family and employment green cards as of the date of enactment have had their priority date become current.
o A $1,000 penalty fee is rendered
People in DREAM Act Status and the Agricultural Program can get their green cards in 5 years and DREAM Act kids will be eligible for citizenship immediately after they get their green cards.
W-Visa Program For Lower-Skilled Workers:
Create a new nonimmigrant classification known as the W-Visa. The W visa holder is an alien having a foreign residence who will come to the US to perform services or labor for a registered employer in a registered position. The spouse and minor children of the W visa holder will be allowed to accompany or follow to join and will be given work authorization for the same period of admission the W nonimmigrant is allowed to be here.
The Agricultural Job Opportunity, Benefits, and Security Act:
1. The Agricultural Job Opportunity, Benefits, and Security Act (AgJOBS) would allow current undocumented farm workers to obtain legal status through an Agricultural Card Program. Undocumented farm workers who have made a substantial prior commitment to agricultural work in the United States would be eligible for an Agricultural Card.
2. Agricultural workers who fulfill future Agricultural Card work requirements in U.S. agriculture, show that they have paid all taxes, have not been convicted of any serious crime, and pay a $400 fine are eligible to adjust to legal permanent resident status. Spouses and minor children would receive derivative status.
3. A new agricultural guest worker visa program would be established to ensure an adequate agricultural workforce. A portable, at-will employment based visa (W-3 visa) and a contract-based visa (W-2 visa) would replace the current H-2A program. The H-2A program would sunset after the new guest worker visa program is operational.
Read the full summary (of initial draft) here: http://aila.org/content/default.aspx?docid=44052
Read the full bill here (initial draft): http://www.schumer.senate.gov/forms/immigration.pdf
Read the official bill here (including updates): http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c113:S.744:
Track Changes/Amendments: http://www.judiciary.senate.gov/legislation/immigration/amendments.cfm
Current State of CIR bill: http://blog.mygcvisa.com/2013/05/current-state-of-cir-bill-part-3.html
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