U.S. Senators Kevin Cramer (R-ND) and John Hickenlooper (D-CO) introduced the Equal Access to Green Cards for Legal Employment (EAGLE) Act legislation November 14th, 2023, which would allow employers in the United States to focus on hiring immigrants based on their merits, rather than their birthplace.
Most prospective employment-based immigrants currently live and work in America on temporary visas while waiting for a visa to become available. Some of these individuals remain in temporary status for several years due to the caps applied to their country of nationality.
This legislation would ease the backlog for those who wait the longest. Specifically, the EAGLE Act would phase out the 7% per-country limit on employment-based immigrant visas, while raising the 7% per-country limit on family-sponsored visas to 15%.
“In rural states like North Dakota, highly skilled immigrant doctors and nurses play a critical role in our healthcare workforce, sometimes providing the only specialty care available in the area,” said Senator Cramer. “Per-country caps are nonsensical, and it’s past time our immigration policies reflected a skills-based approach.”
“Arbitrary caps on employment-based visas are holding back our economy when so many industries are hurting for workers,” said Senator Hickenlooper. “This bill is a commonsense fix to our immigration system that will reduce visa backlogs, and fill gaps in our workforce.”
“The EAGLE Act is a win-win for America and Americans. Similar common-sense provisions passed both bodies of Congress with broad bipartisan support in 116th Congress. This bill makes the system more merit based. The bill transitions the allocation of employment based green cards to a first-come, first served application while not unduly burdening foreign nationals from countries that were accustomed to special treatment and having no wait time at all to receive green cards due to discriminatory per country limits. The bill ensures that American workers are made the top-priority for hiring by all U.S. companies such that no foreign worker can undercut an American worker for a U.S. job. We are incredibly grateful to Senator Cramer and Senator Hickenlooper for leading the bill and urge its swift passage in Congress,” said Aman Kapoor, Immigration Voice.
The Act, if enacted, would impose requirements to ensure that immigrants receiving these visas do not displace American workers. The bipartisan legislation is aimed at addressing crucial healthcare workforce shortages and eliminating arbitrary and ineffective per-country visa caps.