February 7, 2019

Important Update on Green Card Legislation

A new version of the Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act of 2019 (H.R. 1044 — previously known as H.R. 392) has been introduced by Reps. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) and Ken Buck (R-CO) in the House of Representatives and Senators Kamala Harris (D-CA) and Mike Lee (R-UT) in the Senate.

It is largely identical to past versions in that it will remove the per-country limit on employment-based permanent residency, which would add significant wait time to individuals from smaller countries like Iran, while benefiting individuals from larger countries like India and China. In the 115th Congress, the legislation was added to the House homeland security appropriation before NIAC Action, the Iranian-American community, and Iranian nationals across the country rallied against it. Particularly given the combination of the Muslim Ban and the community’s reliance on single-entry visas, many were strongly concerned that H.R. 392 would have a hugely negative impact on Iranian nationals in the United States.

We continue to have strong concerns about the impacts of this proposal and are committed to ensuring that the visa and green card process is equitable for Iranians and will advocate accordingly. However, our collective advocacy, meetings, and calls so far have helped to secure one significant exception in the language of the new bill. Under the new language, if you have already filed a petition for employment-based permanent residency that has been approved, the bill would no longer add to your wait time.

What this means: If someone’s petition for an EB-1/2/3/4/5 visa is approved prior to Sep. 30, 2019 then they wouldn’t have to wait for the visa any longer than they do currently if the bill passes.

We recognize that while this change may lessen the impact of the bill’s passage on individuals over the near-term, many of our longer-term concerns regarding the bill’s impact on Iranian nationals’ path to a green card remain. Please take a moment to share your thoughts on this change and what impact it will have on you to inform our forthcoming discussions with legislators and their staff.

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