Green Card: Proposed Merit System, a Boon for Indians Studying in American Universities

One of the most greatly desired documents for Indians in America are the permanent residency permits known as green cards. Till now the process of getting one has been long, difficult and chancy. “The process is a nightmare,” said Anju Singh, a researcher with the National Institutes of Health, who was born in India and studied and worked in the U.S. for nearly a decade before she pursued the coveted green card. But, if Republican lawmakers have their way, that is about to change.

This is good news for all those in the long wait for the magic card – and it is especially good news for Indian students who have graduated (or are going to graduate) from American universities. Until 2013, green cards were allotted through a lottery system to 50,000 randomly selected applicants. The problem that Republican lawmakers had with the lottery system was that it did not distinguish between skilled and unskilled immigrants. They hope therefore, to replace it by a merit system in 2017. The new points system that they propose awards points largely according to applicants’ qualifications and so, it is designed to favor highly skilled applicants – which means that it will be an advantage for the hundreds of Indian students who graduate from American universities every year. So, if you are one of the many Indian faces on a US university campus, once the law goes through, you may not need to persuade an American employer to sponsor you for a green card. There is a strong chance that you will be able to get one on your own merit. Here’s how the proposed system will work. In the new system, an immigrant applicant can get a theoretical maximum of 100 points on the basis of the following ten criteria.

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