June 28, 2013

A look at the major provisions of the Senate immigration bill

The Associated Press

(Continued from page 1)

Immigrants with certain extraordinary abilities, such as professors, researchers, multinational executives and athletes, would be exempted from existing green-card limits. So would graduates of U.S. universities with job offers and degrees in science, technology, engineering or math.

A startup visa would be made available to foreign entrepreneurs seeking to come to the U.S. to start a company.

A new merit visa, for a maximum of 250,000 people a year, would award points to prospective immigrants based on their education, employment, length of residence in the U.S. and other considerations. Those with the most points would earn the visas.

The bill would eliminate the government's Diversity Visa Lottery Program, which randomly awards 55,000 visas to immigrants from countries with historically low rates of immigration to the United States, so that more visas can be awarded for employment and merit ties.

LOW-SKILLED WORKERS

A new W visa would allow up to 200,000 low-skilled workers a year into the country for jobs in construction, long-term care, hospitality and other industries.

A new agriculture worker visa program would be established to replace the existing program. Agriculture workers already here illegally, who've worked in the industry at least two years, could qualify in another five years for green cards if they stay in the industry.

FAMILY IMMIGRATION

Under current law, U.S. citizens can sponsor spouses, children and siblings to come to the U.S., with limits on some categories. The bill would bar citizens from sponsoring their siblings and would allow them to sponsor married sons and daughters only if those children are under age 31.

Legal permanent residents can currently sponsor spouses and children, but the numbers are limited. The bill eliminates that limit.

EMPLOYMENT VERIFICATION

Within four years, all employers must implement E-Verify, a program to verify electronically their workers' legal status. As part of that, noncitizens would be required to show photo ID that must match with a photo in the E-Verify system.

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