Forbes Examines RAISE Act

08/07/2017

Late Thursday, Forbes published an article entitled, "Cotton and Trump Team Hand America a Bad Bill". In the article, Forbes examines the Reforming American Immigration for a Strong Economy ("RAISE") Act. The article comes in the wake of Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR) and Senator David Perdue (R-GA) introducing a revised version of the bill, originally introduced in February, last week. President Trump announced the same day that he supports the bill, which Senators Cotton and Perdue originally introduced in February.

The RAISE act would overhaul many aspects of the country's existing immigration laws. For example, the bill would eliminate the Diversity Lottery, which allocates 50,000 immigrant visas, or green cards, per year to foreign nationals from countries with low rates of immigration to the United States. It would also cap the number of refugee admissions at 50,000 per year. Furthermore, the bill would change how the government allocates family-based immigrant visas. Namely, the RAISE Act would eliminate visa preferences for extended family members and adult family members of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents, though it would create a renewable temporary visa for elderly parents coming to the United States for caretaking.

Employment-based immigration, however, would see the greatest change under the RAISE Act. The legislation would turn employment-based permanent residency into a points system. Through this system, applicants would be awarded points based on education, English language proficiency, salary, age, record of extraordinary achievement, and entrepreneurial initiative. For example, an applicant at least twenty-six years old but younger than thirty-one would receive ten age-based preference points, while anyone older than fifty would not receive any points based on age. Meanwhile, an applicant with a foreign bachelor's degree would receive five preference points for education, while someone with a U.S. master's degree in a science, technology, engineering, or mathematics field would receive eight points.

Foreign nationals must accrue at least thirty points to apply for an employment-based green card, and the government would limit the number of those immigrant visas to 140,000 per year. The process would begin with the applicant paying a $160 fee to enter a pool from which U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services ("USCIS") would then invite the highest scorers to file full applications. USCIS would perform this process twice a year, with half the allotment of immigrant visas available for each cycle.

In speaking with Forbes about the RAISE Act, Vic Goel, Goel & Anderson's Managing Partner, said, "This legislation is really cold-hearted." He went on to note, "I've concluded that not only would there be no mechanism for H-1B extensions beyond 6 years, but even more troubling is no mention of any transition plan for those who are affected by backlogs in the employment-based visa categories that will be eliminated."

Goel and Anderson will continue to monitor developments and provide updates. If you have any questions, please contact your Goel and Anderson attorney.

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