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Green cards

Topic covered:

  1. Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora.


Green cards


What to study?

For prelims and mains: green cards- features, recent changes proposed and implications.


Context: U.S. President Donald Trump has announced a proposal that will include significant changes to the way green cards are allocated.


Key changes:

  • The new proposal will increase skills-based green cards to 57%.
  • Points will be awarded to applicants based on their education, work experience, age (more points for younger workers), English language ability etc.
  • New immigrants will have to show that they can financially support themselves and will need to pass a civics exam.
  • There would be a new “Build America” visa – details of which were not provided.
  • People given Green Cards on humanitarian and diversity grounds will now only constitute 10% of all Green Card recipients.



The plan outlined dramatically reduces the number of family-based green cards and moves towards a points-based (“merit-based”) system that will reward, among other factors, education, skills and English language proficiency.

It will increase the number of green cards that are given through the skills route versus the family-based route.


Rationale behind:

The plan is sought to boost border security and tighten asylum procedures.

Currently about 12% of those receiving green cards entered the U.S. based on skill-based visas (such as the H1B), while some 66% are family-based green cards.


How will it impact India?

  • The proposals, if they eventually turn into law, are likely to have a significant impact on Indians who interact with the U.S. immigration system. A large majority (over 70%) of H1B visas, for skilled workers, went to Indians in fiscal year 2018. Many of these are eventually converted to green cards.
  • Such a move is likely to benefit hundreds and thousands of Indian professionals on H-1B visa whose current Green Card wait, on an average, is more than a decade.
  • However, it is far from clear that a shift towards a points-based system will make the prospects of Indian skilled migrants wanting to settle in the U.S. easier, as bringing family members over, especially elderly parents, may get more complicated.


Sources: The Hindu.