Part Five: Merit-Based Point System

TRACK ONE

Creates a merit-based visa and points system and establishes eligibility criteria for merit-based immigrants.

  • Replaces provision for the Diversity visa with Merit-based system.
  • Clarifies that individuals admitted on the basis of a merit-based immigrant visa will have lawful permanent resident (LPR) status.
  • Awards points to applicants for factors such as education, length of employment, type of employment, family members in the U.S., and length of residence in the U.S.
  • Establishes a fee of $500.
  • Establishes eligibility criteria:

o Individuals in Registered Provisional Immigrant Status (RPI) may begin accruing points no earlier than 10 years after enactment.
o Individuals with a pending or approved petition in another immigrant category are ineligible to apply for a merit-based immigrant visa.

· Provides initially 120,000 visas as the worldwide level of merit-based immigrants, with a cap of 250,000. Allows for recapture of unused visas. If the level is less than 75 percent of the number of applicants, the level will increase by five percent the next year. If equal to or more than 75 percent, the level will stay the same minus any amount added for the recapture of unused visas. No increase in level is allowed if unemployment is over 8.5 percent.

· Allocates the number of merit-based visas:

  • First four fiscal years after enactment: the level of merit-based immigrant visas are allocated for skilled workers, professionals, and other workers, who provide non-seasonal unskilled labor.
  • Beginning with fifth fiscal year: 50 percent to applicants with highest number of points under Tier 1; 50 percent to applicants with highest number of points under Tier 2
  • Recapture of unused visas: Two-thirds of any unused Tier 1 visas are reserved for Tier 1 in the following fiscal year; Two-thirds of any unused Tier 2 visas are reserved for Tier 2 in the following fiscal year. The remaining one-third of Tier 1 and Tier 2 visas are available for either Tier 1/Tier2, in the following fiscal year.

· Authorizes Secretary to submit a proposal to modify the allocation of points.
· Effective on first day of the first fiscal year beginning after the date of enactment.

TRACK TWO

Creates an immigrant visa system and establishes eligibility criteria for merit-based immigrants under Track Two.  Clarifies that individuals admitted on the basis of a merit-based immigrant visa will have lawful permanent resident (LPR) status.

Allows the following individuals to be eligible for merit-based immigrant visas beginning October 1, 2014:

  • Beneficiaries of family- and employment-based immigrant petitions pending for five years and filed prior to enactment
  • Beneficiaries of current F3/F4 petitions pending for five years and filed after enactment
  • Long-term workers, that were not admitted under the W visa and have been lawfully present in the U.S. for 10 years

Adds requirement that beginning in FY2029, in order to be eligible for adjustment of status, the alien must be lawfully present in an employment authorized status for 20 years prior to filing.

Visa Allocation

· Employment-based:

  • Allocates annually for the years FY2015–FY2021, the number of visas equal to 1/7 of the number of employment-based petitions filed prior to enactment and pending for five years

· Family-based:

  • Converts automatically spouses and children of LPRs to immediate relatives
  • Allocates annually for the years FY2015–FY2021, the number of visas equal to 1/7 of the number of family petitions pending for five years and filed prior to enactment minus the number of spouses and children of LPRs as of the date of enactment.
  • Directs the Secretary, in FY2022, to allocate the number of visas equal to • of the number of beneficiaries of current F3/F4 petitions whose visas had not been issued by October 1, 2021.
  • Directs the Secretary, in FY2023, to allocate the number of merit-based immigrant visas equal to the number of beneficiaries of current F3/F4 petitions whose visas had not been issued by October 1, 2022.
  • Directs that employment- and family-based visas shall be issued in the order they were filed.

REPEAL OF THE DIVERSITY VISA PROGRAM.

· Eliminates the diversity visa program with an effective date of October 1, 2014.

· Allows individuals who receive notification of selection for a diversity immigrant visa for FY2013 or FY2014 to remain eligible.

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