How the New Merit-Based Policy Will Affect Immigration
There have been a lot of changes in immigration policies and procedures this year. Mostly due to the change of the presidential administration and its view for a much stricter policy towards entering the United States. From talks about a border wall to prevent crossing from Mexico and a ban against travel from specific countries, even for tourism, it is becoming harder for anyone to enter the country despite having valid reasons to be here. In August, there was a new system officially called the RAISE Act, Reforming American Immigration for Strong Employment, also known as, the merit-based entry system, that favors people in their late 20’s who have advanced degrees, speak fluent English, and have a job offer with a high-end salary. This Act has not been passed by Congress yet so it remains a “bill” and with the current status, it’s likely to see many changes undergo before it sees a vote. The bill also adds a 50,000 cap to the annual flux of refugees waiting to enter the country and will cut the entire lottery program for those countries who have smaller percentages of immigration to the United States.
Many senators fear that this will cut the much-needed labor force which much of the country’s commercial economy depends on. Even anti-immigration politicians see this as an attack against those citizens who currently live here in the United States, who are now up against the harder competition. Supporters of the bill claim the RAISE Act will increase the average pay for current workers in the country, yet most economists disagree. The idea that the bill is trying to undo, is the current system that provides preferential immigration to those who already have family members in the country. The bill will help those who can assimilate easily without a strong family and culture base by allowing only the people who speak English and have well-paying jobs. It hopes to cut the total annual immigration numbers by 50% over the next ten years but the requirements are on a point based system with absurdly high expectations. There are no points if you are over the age of 50, if you have a job offer that makes less than $77,900, or if you have less than $1.8 million in your account, that you are willing to invest in the country.
This system works if you have plenty of money to spare but for those who are looking for a better life, there are a lot of closed doors. Since the bill is still up for debate there is currently no official change in policy. If the bill does pass, it is likely to undergo several reforms but as each person’s situation is unique, consulting with an immigration attorney is the best way to understand how this will change your current immigration status. Reviews of the bill have pointed that immigrants from India will have the most favored chances with the RAISE Act if they have an advanced degree, speak fluent English, and are between the ages of 26-34.