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Trump Immigration RAISE Act – Summary, H1B or L1 Impact ? Status ?

This week has been crazy with some heated discussion in blogosphere and news with the announcement of Reforming American Immigration for a Strong Economy( RAISE) Act by Senators Tom Cotton and David Perdue. There is so much of info around that is vague and misleading many. We will summarize and talk about what it means to various work visa holders like H1B, L1.

Update : Trump has announced in May 2019, Merit based Green Card and New Immigration System , which is pretty similar to below, but with funding for wall and some minor changes.

Summary of RAISE Act – Key changes to Immigrant Visas  :

  • Elimination of Diversity Visa Lottery program : Remove the Diversity visa lottery program that provides 50,000 Green Cards to citizens from countries that have low immigration rates to US.
  • Reduce Green Cards to Refugees :Reduce the Green cards given to refugees to a maximum of 50,000 per year.
  • Family Based Immigration Changes :
    • Current immigration preferences for spouses and minor children of US residents remain intact, but immigrant visas to extended family members and adults are eliminated.
    • Definition of minor changed from 21 years to 18 years for immigrant visa purposes.
    • Parents of adult US Citizens ( over 21 years of age) get a visa, initially given for 5 years, for health care and treatment and then extended based on need and residence. Health insurance is mandatory for parents as part of this visa and need to submit proof. US Citizen’s son or daughter who sponsored the visa are responsible to support their parents. They will NOT get any benefits from US state.
    • In process Immigrant visas : If you are in process and scheduled to get immigrant visa (green card) within one year from the day RAISE Act is enacted, you will get it, if it is later than one year, it is going to be invalid and you have to re-apply based on new process.
  • Replace current employment based immigrations: The current employment based green card/immigration system will be replaced with a point based system like in Canada or Australia. Maximum of 140,000 Employment Based Green Cards ( same as now) for eligible applicants. This 140,000 also includes GCs count for spouses and children.
  • Green Card Application Process with Points based System : New application process for Green Card/ immigrant visa is in place with the change to points based system. The applicants with maximum points are selected in order to fill the cap of 140,000. Applicants need a minimum of 30 points to submit the Green Card Application
    • Applicants who are eligible have to apply with USCIS by paying $160 USD online to be part of the eligible pool. They are eligible for 12 months to be in pool and can reapply next year as needed.
    • Tie-Breaking Factors : If there is a tie or same points, the below order of will be followed for tie-break ( highest to lowest )
    • By Degree :
      • PhD / Doctorate Degree holders (US or foreign – US ranked higher )
      • Professional Degree – MBA, MD, Law (US or foreign – US ranked higher )
      • Master’s Degree(US or foreign – US ranked higher )
      • Bachelors Degree(US or foreign – US ranked higher )
      • Diploma (US or foreign – US ranked higher )
    • By English Language Proficiency : If there is a tie with points by degree, then English language test ranking scores will be used for priority
    • By close to 25 Years of Age : If there is still a tie with above two, then the person with closer to 25th birthday will be chosen
    • Invitation by USCIS every 6 months : USCIS will invite the highest ranking applicants from the eligible pool every 6 months to apply for green card. The candidate have to apply within 90 days after receiving the invitation. You will need to submit all documents related to the application with proofs/ attestations as needed by submitting application fee of $345.
    • If more applications qualify in a year for Green card and it is over 140,000 cap, USCIS will delay their admission until first day of next fiscal year and reduce that exceeded numbers from next fiscal year.
    • Only legal spouse and minor children of the primary applicant will be given Green card under point based system.
    • Public Benefits : No public Benefits will be given for the new Green Card holders under the points based system for first 5 years.
  • How does Point based Immigration System in US work : Applicants need a minimum of 30 points to submit green card application. The points are awarded for each of the sections for an individual based on their status and qualification. Below are the various aspects that will be looked into for awarding points
    • Age : Points anywhere from 0 to 10 based on age
    • Education : Points awarded anywhere from 1 to 13 based on education qualification
    • English Language Proficiency : Points are awarded anywhere from 0 to 12 based on English language Proficiency System that will be used by USCIS either IELTS or TOEFL. Also, USICIS may recommend another test as needed.
    • Extraordinary achievement : Points are awarded from 15 to 25 for extraordinary achievement like Nobel prize, Olympics, or similar.
    • Job Offer : Points anywhere from 5 to 13 based on salary offered from 150% to over 300% of median income in applying state.
    • Investment in commercial enterprise : Points anywhere either 6 or 12 based on investment in commercial enterprise either $1.35 million USD or $1.8 Million USD
    • Family Preference : If you are about to get immigrant visa based on family, you may be eligible for upto 2 points.
    • Spouse Related points Adjustment : There will be points adjustment based on your spouse, if you are married and considered

Read full details on points allocation in article Points Based Immigration USA Green Card

  • Annual Reporting : Every year after the RAISE Act is enacted, secretary of homeland security should submit a report to congress on the immigrant visas issues for previous fiscal year based on points system with every detail by state, education, annual salaries, etc.
  • Quadrennial Report : Every 4 years, Secretary of Homeland security shall review and consult with Dept of labor and other departments and provide recommendations for any changes to the point system as needed.
  • When will all these be effective : All the above will be effective from first day of fiscal year on the date or after this act is passed. The fiscal year first day is October 1st for USCIS.

What is the current status of RAISE ACT  ?
The status is that, it is not even introduced officially in Senate and we only see that its previous version is in House and was read twice and referred to Judiciary committee. So, it has to pass Senate, Pass House and then only it becomes law. Really a long way to go and with the current state, it is very unlikely that it will go through. There are many such H1B and Immigration Bills by Trump team with little progress. So, nothing to worry or panic folks !

What is the impact for H1B and L1 visa holders or Work Visa Holders ?
The RAISE Act Draft version does not really explicitly talk about H1B, L1 visa or any work visa holders.  So, we do not know what the impact would be. For now, as per current process, anyone on H1B goes through the standard Employment Based immigration process…But, if the RAISE Act becomes a law, this will change the process for Green Cards for H1B holders and they will need to go through the points based system. The concept of priority date, wait times will be gone…Younger and more educated people with higher salaries get more points…so, it can have a potentially drastic impact, if it becomes law…but, too early to predict anything…for now, it is pure speculation. We should just wait for the next steps….It has to be passed as it is in Senate and house, which is very unlikely…

What is your view on this RAISE Act ? Is it bad for US ? Good ? What do you say ? Share your thoughts…

Reference :


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  1. Points allocation based on 70% applicants and 30% spouses makes impossible for applicants to qualify if their spouses are not working or less educated. This is the most weirdest thing that’s part of this RAISE act.. This will penalize applicant families if their spouses decided to stay at home and raise children.

  2. The RAISE act actually makes perfect sense, if they need to pass a law that is truly good for the country. It is exactly how immigration works in Canada or Australia. The only thing missing is to give points for US work experience. This should make it fair for folks who are stuck in the green card queues – add 1 point per year for US work experience just as Canada does.

  3. As others have said, for people who have been waiting in line for years, age is going to count against them. All this time they have worked in the US paying into Social security, Medicare and taxes.

    To be fair, these years should really count “for” them instead of “against” them.

  4. Hi,
    Thanks for sharing this article, this is really helpful. I got one question, it would be great if i can get not exact but at least near to it. For the extra achievements – is having Patent is eligible for this category? If no – forgot it, but if yes then it should be US Patent or any other country patent is fine with it?

    Any suggestion or help is appreciated!!


    • Jay,
      It is too early to look at specifics. We will have more of these clarified, if it makes it through the process. For now, do not worry too much.

  5. Current system is not good enough – requires drastic changes like this.

    Intention is really good but it has to be more effective than this .

    Considering professional work experience for people who belong to same profession is necessary.

    Experience over age should be the priority if age is below certain threshold.

    Degree is not a way to qualify a person. They can consider degree in case of a tie or if its PhD. Also Masters degree with thesis should be given priority over coursework.

    Its good for USA. I hope it also turns out to be good for Indians. Hopefully we don’t have to cling for certainty – its spoiling us from growth.

  6. How is an MBA a professional degree? Has an MBA been specifically called out by the bill as something you can get 13 points for?

    • Yes, it has been specifically called out. Check the reference document full text page 27 for definition of professional degree.

  7. Any thoughts what will happen to the people who have crossed their 6 yrs limit to stay in US on H1/L1 Visa, they have their labor or i-140 approved..but do not have priority date current. and do not have 30 points to apply for green card… or if they do have 30 points but with current 3.6 million pending cases there are enough cases to fill next few years of employment based quota(140K) because of the degree/age /English proficiency/degree etc. ..do they need to leave the country immediately? Need to re-apply for H1B visa under fresh quota(lottery)? in that case, US born kids have to change their schools as if parents cannot stay then they would need to leave as well. For middle school or high school kids, it will be tough to adjust in new education system and it may hamper their whole life.

    • Mukesh,
      No mention of anything that you have raised in the draft. if something really moves, these details will be chalked out as part of the rule making process… The bill has a drastic impact on current people waiting for GCs…it is very unlikely that it will go through as it is in draft.

  8. Any change could bring happiness and sorrows but I wish this Change would bring Good to Indian atleast.
    Here are few points to be considered I think,
    1. USA Experience in Years should be considered as that will benefit people who are already in USA Since very long time.
    2. Age – This should not be considered or to be considered as a driving factor, if considered then older the age should get better points as it will benefit people who are in USA since ex:2007
    3. Median income in that state must be considered, because people who are working in Calif get paid more and this should not affect people who are working in for example Nashville, where cost of living is very cheap.

    • Gupta,
      Agree with you, many people in US have been waiting for years, experience in US would be a good one to be considered…

  9. There is no clarity on what will happen if a person already has approved I-140 and just waiting for priority date. I think there are tons of people on this category.

    • Bobby,
      Yes, there are way too many people in this category…we do not have any details…This will be a major point of discussion during the debate of this bill…we just have to wait and see.

  10. So, does this mean the companies need not have to file I-140 and the qualified engineer can get the GC by filing on his own?

    • Sridhar,
      Yes, thats the idea as per draft bill. Individuals apply directly with USCIS based on the points based system and they only use the employment offer from a company as part of the process…

  11. Best of Best by Trump. All good engineer s will get an opportunity.
    No need to be a slave for managers in tcs Infosys HCl techM where they will scare you like. If you don’t do this I will kick you to India.

    You can work your own GC . You can work for the company you like and still get a GC. At present this is not possible since they will take you on a L1B or H1B visa and will tell you they won’t give you experience letter or pf settlement .. if you quit in usa.
    No more labour slaves and cheap workers are needed by the usa.

    Time for best and brightest which was not the case for 30 years in the past.

    • Ram K. you said it correctly.
      Already in India where people like someone based on how they look, caste, where you born, how much chamcha-giri is done for boss etc.. etc…. it feels like being slave in India. Now the H1-B the managers, boss treat their own country people like slaves. Even though they say caste system is become less in India, but in reality people differentiate among one another based on language, caste, money …
      India expert in playing politics, it is in our blood…….in usa also indians will avoid even looking at other indians…we indians treat other indians as inferior…that’s because we are all very insecure of ourselves..

    • Ram,
      Yes, the current system is abused by many companies…A system like the above can help reduce the abuse…But, the current draft bill is far too narrow and does not consider other segments of immigrants that are major part of American economy and the whole ecosystem…

  12. Does inprocess immigrant GC rule applies to the cases where I-140 has been approved for many years and are in queue to get GC due to current quota system?

  13. Is there any news about what will happen to the already existing applications that are either waiting for priority date or I-140 or applications that will be filed before Oct? Does their GC process will moved to Point based process?

    • Neeru,
      It is too early to predict, no such details are in the draft bill. If it ever moves to next stages, all these details will be given by USCIS…dont worry about them now..

  14. More Europeans needs to migrate , they are honest, hard working , true degrees, no fake references. Asian countries needs to be stopped for the next 50 years .
    Don’t belong be me buy an Emirates ticket you will see 99 % Indians Pakistanis bangalis there.i am so glad finally US woke up.

    • Indians desperately want to leave their country, mother, father, brother, sister to go where there is money…we indians will cheat, lie or false resumes, etc… etc… that is because we only know the politics, how to stop other people from progressing…we good at back stabbing people….
      Already in India where people like someone based on how they look, where you born, how much chamcha-giri is done for boss etc.. etc…. it feels like being slave in India. Now the H1-B the managers, boss treat their own country people like slaves. Even though they say caste system is now less in India, but in reality people differentiate among one another based on language, caste …
      India expert in playing politics, it is in our blood…….in usa also indians avoid talking or even looking at other indians…we indians treat other indians as inferior…that’s because we are all very insecure of ourselves..

      • Hey you can’t report issues with you or around you as issues allover India. You or some people around might have cheated but that doesn’t mean everyone from India is cheater. Most of us have worked hard and we are genuine people. You seem frustrated with your boss but don’t defame my country. I have worked in India and the US long enough and never saw casteism and chamchagiri and office politics is common throughout the world.

    • With this bill becoming a law, then even you will see the same pattern. If you go to Canada or Australia or even UK you will see the same pattern. Europeans get paid in their own region if they are competitive enough. They do not care to immigrate to different region.

    • You sound like racist but hope you are not. Are you so naive that US companies accept fake degrees? I never heard something like this. Who gave certificate of honesty to Europeans? Look into history, Europeans bullied major part of the world very HONESTLY (British, Spanish, French, Portuguese) over centuries by looting their so called colonies. If Asians were so bad, they wouldn’t be in so much demand in your own backyard too. You could have made your points in a sober way and hope you will do so in the future.

    • Manz
      Don’t post racist comments. Be a human and be kind. You should not generalise your comments just because you came across a few fake individuals that happen to be from India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. You have absolutely no idea what kinds of struggle a genuine individual should go through to settle in a foreign country. I worked really hard to finish my post graduation and to find a full time job. Do you realise how painful it is to live away from family to pursue dreams? Can you imagine the stress we go through to adapt to a new culture? Are you aware of how some Indians are treated at a work place due to our origin. You don’t, so STOP.


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