The new immigration reform legislation proposes to create a Merit Based Visa, which will go into effect five years after enactment. The Merit Based Visa program will award points to individuals based on their education, employment, length of residence in the US and other considerations. Those individuals with the most points earn the visas. Those who access the merit based pathway to earn their visa are expected to be talented individuals, individuals in worker programs, and individuals with family in the United States.
120,000 visas will be available per year based on merit. The number would increase by 5% per year if demand exceeds supply in any year where unemployment is under 8.5%. There will be a maximum cap of 250,000 visas.
Under one component of this merit based system, merit-based immigrant visas will be allocated beginning on October 1, 2014 for employment-based visas that have been pending for three years, family-based petitions that were filed prior to enactment and have been pending for five years, long-term alien workers and other merit based immigrant workers.
In our next article we will discuss proposed changes to petitioning for spouses, children, and other immediate family members of those with employment-based visas.