EAGLE Act: Clearing Green Card Backlogs For H1-Bs

Picking up from where S386 left off, Democrat Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren and Republican House member John Curtis have introduced a bipartisan law called the EAGLE Act 2021. Read: reduce green card wait for H1-B visa holders stuck in the 75+ year backlog.

For the layman, it is an Act that will allow Equal Access to Green Cards for Legal Employment. This will also aim to eliminate the 7% per-country limit on employment-based immigrant visas, that has been a huge bottle-neck for skilled talent entering the U.S.

EAGLE Act –  Complete Details

EAGLE is the acronym for Equal Access to Green Cards for Legal Employment. The intent of the Act is to “de-emphasizes birthplace” and give permanent residency to eligible immigrant visa holders who have entered the U.S. based on employment. This means immigrants should be hired based on their skill sets and not place of origin.

It will also eliminate the 7% country cap limit on visa applications.

For family-based green cards, the EAGLE Act proposes raising per-country cap to 15%.

This proposal if passed will be effective by Oct 1, 2022. It will potentially eliminate the EB-1, EB-2 and EB-3 backlogs in 3-17 years if the Act is passed in its entirety.


How Will The EAGLE Act Reduce Green Card Wait

Eliminate Country of Birth: Similar to the S386, eliminating the country of birth allows for everyone to apply and get the green card equally instead of being limited by the country cap assigned to each country. India has a 7% cap on how many green cards can be received.

File I-485 sooner: If the I-140 or the PERM application is approved, then you can file for the adjustment of status (AOS) sooner and receive the green card much faster than the backlog allows for now.

Backlog, from 75 to 6 years: Currently, the wait for a green card is over 75 years. If this Act is approved, eligible employment based green card applicants will get their green card in six years.

Dependents, 21 years and above: Kids 21 years and over age out and have to either deport or change their status to something else like F1 international student visa. Else by 21, they age out and cannot be on their primary beneficiary’s visa anymore.

The EAGLE Act will provide protection to the H4 dependents from getting out of status.

What Stage Is The EAGLE Act At Today

Rep Lofgren and Rep Curtis have floated the proposal of the HR 3648 EAGLE Act 2021 or the Equal Access to Green cards for Legal Employment Act. In Rep Lofgren’s words, “Simply put, it will allow US companies to focus on what they do best – hiring smart people to create products and services, which creates jobs in our districts.”

In the past, a similar bill was introduced in 2008. Last December, the bill had passed the Senate unanimously, but lapsed due to lack of time.

Now that it has been introduced in the House, it is expected to pass fast with large number of unanimous votes.

Once it passed the House, it is sent to the Senate for approval. In the past, the S386 bill didn’t pass even after moving from the House to the Senate and eventually, the green card bill lapsed over time. The chances of the EAGLE Act passing both the House and the Senate are small, if not a very lengthy time period. Once it odes, the President has to sign it into law.

Per Rep Curtis, “The bipartisan EAGLE Act will create a more fair employment based visa system by eliminating per-country limitations and creating a first-come, first-served system focused on merit instead of country of origin”.