The US Senate blocking the S386 bill is not just bad news for Indian green card applicants but also for Indian families whose children have aged out (turned 21) or are in the process of ageing out.
In US, once the children of H-1B work visa holders turn 21, they can no longer continue with their H-4 visas, which are typically meant for dependents. This means that they have to either obtain an F-1 visa meant for international students or self-deport to their respective countries.
This has been a major headache for Indian families in US as the rule presents multiple challenges for children of H1-B visa holders when they turn 21. Even if they succeed in obtaining an F-1 visa, they lose out on scholarship benefits and aren’t allowed to study in most medical schools. Returning to India also presents several challenges for them, especially for those who had migrated to US at a young age.
Such families had pinned their hopes on the S386 Bill for relief. If cleared, it would have become easier for highly skilled tech workers and their families to become permanent US residents.
Indian IT professionals, most of whom are highly skilled and come to the US mainly on the H-1B work visas, are the worst sufferers of the current immigration system, which imposes a seven per cent per country quota on allotment of the coveted Green Card or permanent legal residency.
The root cause of their woes is the long waiting time, which can go up to several decades. Indians comprise 76 per cent of the total employment-based green card backlog. As of April 2018, there were 632,000 Indians (including spouse and children) waiting for thier green card.