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House approves faster green cards for foreign IT workers

The House on Tuesday voted to eliminate per-country caps on employment-based visas, a move that could make it easier for tech workers from highly populated nations like India and China to obtain so-called green cards, which allow individuals to permanently reside and work in the U.S.

The Fairness for High-Skilled Immigration Act (H.R. 3012) drew broad, bi-partisan support, passing the House with a vote of 389-15. The bill is expected to move swiftly through the Senate.

Currently, U.S. immigration law limits employment-based green cards for citizens from any one country to no more than 7% of the total green cards approved by the State Department in any particular year. The rule makes it easier to obtain a green card for applicants from smaller countries that don't generate a significant amount of applications, but makes it tougher for workers from big countries that provide most of the foreign tech workers sought by U.S. companies.

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