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What U.S. Companies and Foreign Workers Should Know About the RAISE Act Immigration Point System

August 9, 2017

On Wednesday, August 2, 2017, President Trump endorsed the RAISE Act, a new bill proposed in the Senate by Sens. Tom Cotton and David Perdue, in hopes of securing more jobs for American workers. If made into law, the bill would affect both family and employment-based immigration. U.S. companies and foreign workers should know that (a) the annual maximum number of employment-based green cards would stay the same, (b) the procedure for applying for those green cards would shift to a points system, and (c) the Diversity Visa Lottery would no longer be a means for pursuing a green card.

(a)   Annual Number of Employment-Based Green Cards Would Stay the Same

The annual allotment of green cards for employment-based green cards is 140,000. This number would stay the same under the RAISE Act.

(b)  Employment-Based Green Cards Would Shift to a Points System

Foreign workers would have to earn at least 30 points to qualify for an employment-based green card. Each applicant would be judged based on their:

  1. Ability to speak English: This would be judged by an exam.
  2. Future Earning Potential: A foreign worker with a job offer paying 300% of the median salary in the state where she will be working could receive 13 points.
  3. Highest educational qualification: A foreign worker would receive different point level based on her educational level. For instance, a foreign worker with a doctorate would receive 13 points.
  4. Age: Foreign workers below the age of 50 would be judged on a sliding scale and receive between 2 to 10 points. Foreign workers over the age of 50 would receive no points.
  5. Investments: Foreign workers would receive 12 points for a $1.8 million investment in a U.S. business.
  6. High achievements: Foreign workers who have received international recognition would receive points. For example, an Olympic medalist would receive 15 points while a Nobel Prize winner would receive 25 points.

(c)   Diversity Visa Lottery Would Be Eliminated.

Currently, the Diversity Visa Lottery provides 50,000 immigrant visas to foreign nationals from qualifying countries with low rates of immigration to the U.S. Under the RAISE Act, the Diversity Visa Lottery would be eliminated.


This article was written by Victoria Gentry

Victoria Gentry is an attorney with The Immigration Group, P.C. practicing exclusively in the areas of work visas and employment-based green cards. She first became interested in immigration law when her stepfather emigrated from El Salvador to the United States. Now she enjoys assisting corporate clients with a variety of immigration needs including international transfers, visa eligibility, and the green card process. She works primarily with professionals in IT, Engineering, Finance, Pharmacy, and Insurance.