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NY Times: Immigration Bill to Include Merit-Based System

April 12, 2013

The New York Times is reporting on some details of the Senate’s immigration bill, set to be released next week.

The sweeping immigration bill that a bipartisan group of senators is preparing will include a major new merit-based program for foreigners to become permanent legal residents based on their work skills, including both high-skilled and blue-collar workers, according to people familiar with a draft of the legislation.

Over time the program, just one piece of the bill, would open up many new opportunities for foreigners to settle in the United States based on their skills, a shift from the focus on family ties that is the main foundation of the current immigration system.

. . .

At the end of 10 years, the bill would create a program offering 138,000 merit-based visas each year to foreigners based on their work skills, but also on other considerations including family ties. Green cards will be offered to workers in three categories: high-skilled foreigners in technology and science, employees with a middle range of white collar skills, and low-wage workers. Farmworkers are not included, as they will come under a separate program.

The bill also purportedly seeks to eliminate the backlog of 4.7 million individuals who have been waiting to move through the current immigration system and obtain lawful permanent resident status.
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