Planned immigration changes in USA favour high-earning English speakers

A proposed plan to overhaul our nation's immigration system is creating controversy

However, unlike how it is being introduced, the RAISE Act is not a merit-based system.

The legislation titled the Reforming American Immigration for Strong Employment (RAISE) Act will have first dibs on permanent residency - also called Green Cards - coveted by many prospective immigrants that usually and eventually results in citizenship, as reported by TOI.

Listening to US President Donald Trump talk about a proposed immigration bill you'd be forgiven if you mistook him for talking about the Canadian immigration point-based system because it is something along the same lines.

"Overall Trump's immigration reform has its own logic", said Huang Xingqun, a middle-aged man living in Los Angeles, "He wants to make America great again, he is right from the point view of a businessman, if too many immigrants come, some of them are too old to work, and just rely on welfare, it's unaffordable for any country".

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Bruce Goldstein with Farmworker Justice says a new bill aiming to cut green cards in half sends the wrong message. One point is given for an applicant with a U.S. high school diploma or the foreign equivalent. A foreign master's degree in STEM fields earns seven points while a United States master's earns eight points.

"If you're in America working as an illegal migrant and you have worked in the construction industry for the last three years and you wanted to put that experience on your application for residency, you couldn't do that", she said. A foreign professional degree or doctorate earns 10 points and a United States equivalent earns 13. They'd get more points if they have any additional awards. Those aged 18 through 21 gets six points, ages 22 through 25 gets eight points, and ages 26 through 30 get 10 points.

A candidate must have at least 30 points to apply. In fact, a young Indian with an Indian master's degree who is proficient in English and who has a job offer from a USA company will have a shot at a Green Card.

If the bill gets passed and signed in law, the country will move to a 'merit-based 'system supporting only English-speaking skilled workers for residency cards and technology professionals from countries like India.

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Thousands of Indians who go to the U.S. for high studies - and who have to jump through the H-1B hoops right now - come in this category.

Those who might be hit will be the poorly-educated, barely English-proficient brother/sister/uncle/nephew of a USA citizen who snags a Green Card thanks to family ties, and who goes on to work in a gas station instead of Google or in Dunkin Donuts franchise instead of Facebook.

She suggested that, if the proposals were to be brought in, illegal Irish immigrants now in the U.S. looking for an option to get residency would find it impossible to prove the work experience they gained during their time in the United States so far.

But Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton argues current levels of legal immigration drive down the wages of American workers. Indeed, the number of skilled immigrants granted legal residency annually would remain roughly what it is now, 140,000, while family visas would be slashed and the 50,000 so-called diversity visas (for applicants from countries that are otherwise underrepresented) would be eliminated altogether.

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"The bill essentially scares immigrants".


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