Proposed Bill Would Remove Per-Country Limits – Still Far from Becoming Law

A proposed bill, introduced in both the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate, would eliminate the per-country limits on employment-based (EB) immigrant visa categories, and lift the limit for family-based (FB) categories. If passed into law, it would transform the backlogs in the monthly visa bulletin dramatically for both EB and FB cases, and would be especially beneficial to EB applicants born in India and China, and FB applicants born in Mexico. For a more detailed explanation of the visa bulletin and per-country limits, see the MurthyDotCom InfoArticle, Priority Dates: How Does the Visa Bulletin Work? (27.Oct.2015).

Bill Faces Uphill Battle

While there is some bipartisan support for the bill in both chambers of Congress, stakeholders must understand that chances of this bill being passed into law still appear to be quite low. Similar versions of the bill have been proposed in the past, yet failed to secure enough votes even to get out of committee. Plus, there is little reason to believe that President Trump would support the bill in its present form. Skopos Labs, an independent company that uses an artificial intelligence (AI) algorithm to predict whether a particular bill may be passed into law, currently indicates that chances of success for this bill being passed by the Senate are seven percent (7%).

Summary of Bill

The bill, entitled Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act of 2019, would phase out the per-country limit on EB cases. This would result in EB green cards generally being issued based on category and date of filing, without any consideration of country of birth. This would be beneficial especially to India-born beneficiaries, who are currently mired in tremendous backlogs in the EB second- and third-preference categories (EB2 and EB3).

The bill also would increase the per-country limit in the FB categories from seven percent (7%) to fifteen percent (15%). This likely would be most beneficial to Mexico-born beneficiaries, given that the FB categories for Mexico are more oversubscribed than other countries.


Despite the grim prospects for this bill, the fact that it is gaining any traction is certainly encouraging. Stakeholders are urged to contact their local representatives to voice their respective opinions on the proposed bill.


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