Higher Education

Higher Education

Migrating to US likely to get easier for educated Indians

PUBLISH DATE 4th August 2017

Trump Backs Bill For Merit-Based Model Like Canada

There's good news and bad news for Indians year ning to migrate to America. President Donald Trump is ca. President Donald Trump is backing a bill that will broadly facilitate high skilled, educationally-privileged immigratio n--India's forte--to the United States at the expense of family ties-based immigration that has been the primary route for more than half-a-century . Indians use both routes. But the educated, high-skilled, English-proficient elite has always had it harder because they typically go through the H1-B guest worker route that involves many hurdles, in contrast to those who go through family ties, a less exacting pathway .

In either case, Indians are also constrained by the country specific quota--seven per cent--which means that Nepalese or Pakistanis (fewer in num ber) have a greater chance of getting US residency than Indians.

But under the new legislation proposed by two Republican Senators and backed by President Trump, the educated elite across the globe will have first dibs on permanent residency--also called Green Cards--coveted by many prospective immigrants that usually and eventually results in citizenship.

Under the proposals contained in the Reforming American Immigration for a Strong Economy (RAISE) Act, young, educated, English-speaking immigrant applications will be favoured in a points-based system similar to that used by Canada and Australia. Here's how the points sys tem will work: Good education, particularly if it is a US-minted degree, earns big points: An applicant with a US high school diploma or the foreign equivalent gets one point; a foreign bachelor's degree earns five points, while a US bachelor's degree earns six points. A foreign master's degree in STEM fields earns seven points while a US master's earns eight points. A foreign professional degree or doctorate earns 10 points and a US equivalent earns 13.

Youth, needed to subsidise America's aged, gets priority .Those aged 18 through 21 gets six points, ages 22 through 25 gets eight points, and ages 26 through 30 get 10 points. After that, it's downhill: aged 31 through 35 getting eight points, 36 through 40 getting six points, ages 41 through 45 getting four points and ages 46 through 50 getting two points.Minors under the age of 18 and those over 50 receive no points, though they can apply .

Points are also given out for English proficiency , as determined by standardised English test.

Anyone with less than a 60th percentile proficiency gets no points, those between 60th and 80th percentile get six points, someone in the 80th to 90th percentile range earns 10 points, those with a 90th percentile proficiency or above earns 11 points, and someone in the 100th percentile range earns 12 points.

Topping it all is whether an individual has a job offer in the US and how good it is: Five points are awarded if an applicant has a job offer that will pay at least 150% of median household income in the state where he or she will be employed; eight points if pay is 200% of median income, and 13 points if it's 300% the median.

Here's the upshot if (and it's a big IF) the legislation passes: A young Indian ward be tween age 26 to 30 who has just wrapped up a PhD in US, is proficient in English, and who has a job offer of about $160,000 per year or more (approximately three times the national median income), will be a shoo-in for one of the 140,000 employment-based Green Cards the US issues annually .

Thousands of Indians who go to the US for high studies and who have to jump through the H1-B hoops right now -come in this category . In fact, a young Indian with an Indian master's degree who is proficient in English and who has an job offer from a US firm will have a shot at a Green Card.

Of course, this also means India could be leached of even more of its best and brightest.

Those who might be hit will be the poorly-educated, barely English-proficient brothersisterunclenephew of a US citizen who snags a Green Card thanks to family ties, and who goes on to work in a gas station instead of Google or in Dunkin Donuts franchise instead of Facebook.

The RAISE Act, sponsored by Senators Tom Cotton of Arkansas and David Perdue of Georgia, would reduce the current annual legal residency permits of one million to less than 500,000 within a decade.

According to a White House fact sheet, “Our system does not prioritise the most highly skilled immigrants--just 1 out of every 15 immigrants to the United States comes here because of their skills,“ a White House paper notes.

“More than 50% of all immigrant households receive welfare benefits, compared to only 30% of native households in the US that receive welfare benefits.“