US contemplating Point based immigration system
May 15, 2007: US is contemplating introduction of point based immigration system much on the lines of Canadian System. This is expected to help transform the ethnic and social composition of the United States.
More details are expected to emerge this week from intense closed-door negotiations between the White House and key senators in both parties. This system, when introduced would mark stark difference to existing system that awards the vast majority of the 1 million legal permanent residence visas, or green cards, on the basis of a foreigner's family ties to relatives already in the United States as against on the basis of such factors as education, age, job skills and English proficiency etc. Present kinship based system has resulted in large flows of immigrant from some Latin American or Asian countries over many other educated applicants, which definitely appears against the spirit of immigration law.
This policy is bound to annoy some right groups that insist on giving strong weight age to family ties and want it to central to U.S. immigration policy. They argue that the point based system would be open to anyone in world, create a potentially huge demand and is very much skewed toward highly educated, English-speaking people, and would have implications for class and arguably race.
However, some of the groups are awaiting more details before reacting. Lot would also depend on how points are allocated; whether it favors people here, or whether family is going to count enough are just some of the issues that are being awaited. However, there appears to be a ray of hope for large number of immigrants that expect legitimization of estimated 12 million current illegal residents, in return for changing the future legal immigration system to attract more highly skilled and educated people.
The Senate is scheduled to start debate Wednesday on an immigration overhaul. Point Based systems, originally introduced by Canada in the 1980s were subsequently copies by Australia, New Zealand and United Kingdom. So far point based systems in these counties give large weight age to education, occupation, work experience, language and age.
How much US awards points for relations in the country remains to be seen? Canada awards just 10 points out of a possible 100 points for relatives outside of a sponsor's immediate family.
However, immigrant aspirants apart, even industry is looking for the announcement. Low-wage service industries such as restaurants and nursing homes want a temporary worker program that would admit much larger numbers of low-wage workers, while technology companies and others looking for higher-skilled workers want to expand the current employment-based visa system, which accounts for about 15 percent of green card slots.