Key Take-Aways from the S386 Durbin-Lee “Compromise”


In mid-December 2019, Senators Durbin (D -IL) and Lee (R-UT) reached a bi-partisan compromise on the “Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act of 2019.” This latest piece of immigration reform aims to phase out the per country limits on employment-based immigrant visas (a key step towards a green card). The bill has already passed in the House of Representatives and is currently being discussed in the Senate.

New amendments were proposed by Senators Lee and Durbin. WR’s summary and analysis of the new amendments are provided below.

Summary :

  1. Immigrant workers will be permitted “early filing,” which will allow them to switch jobs and travel while waiting in the green card backlog. These benefits would also pertain to immediate family members. In addition, the amendment would protect the children of immigrant workers in jeopardy of “aging-out” at age 21.

  2. 4,600 additional immigrant visas (green cards) will be issued annually to immigrant workers backlogged overseas as they otherwise would be ineligible for “early filing” benefits.

  3. A company over the size of 50 is prohibited from hiring additional H-1B workers if more than 50 percent of the company’s workforce consists of temporary, non-immigrant employees.

WR Analysis :

  • 140,000 employment based green cards are issued each year while 800,000 immigrant workers wait in line to obtain one. These amendments focus on providing a solution for those immigrant workers waiting in the green card backlog. Presently most children over the age of 21 are not accorded the immigration benefits of their parents and may be subject to removal. The proposed amendments would protect the children of immigrant workers while waiting in the backlog.

  • There will be more H-1B audits for companies with a high percentage of temporary, non-immigrant employees relative to their overall workforce.

This post originally appeared on Wolfsdorf Rosenthal LLP. Reprinted with permission.

About The Author

Wolfsdorf Rosenthal LLP is a full-service, top-rated immigration law firm providing exceptional immigration and visa services. With over 30 years of experience and offices in Los Angeles, New York, Oakland, San Francisco, Santa Monica, and Shanghai, the firm specializes in providing global immigration solutions for investors, multinational corporations, small businesses, academic and research institutions, artists and individuals. Wolfsdorf Rosenthal attorneys are experts in their field and are featured contributors and speakers at local, national and global immigration forums and publications. They are also consistently recognized for their work and honored by the most prestigious awards on a national and global level.

The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinion of ILW.COM.