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New US bill seeks to speed up citizenship for H-1B visa holders

A new bill has been introduced in the US Senate that aims to offer citizenship to certain classes of people and would benefit Indian tech workers in the US. Under the immigration renewal provisions of the Immigration Act, introduced on Wednesday, an immigrant who has lived in the United States continuously for a period of seven years could be eligible for a green card.

This was presented to the US Senate by Senator Alex Padilla and co-sponsored by Senators Elizabeth Warren, Ben Ray Lujan and Dick Durbin on Wednesday. A companion bill was introduced in the House of Representatives by Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren, who also serves as chair of the House Subcommittee on Immigration.

The legislation would provide a way to obtain a green card for up to eight million people, including H-1B visa holders, children of long-term visa holders, dreamers and others. If approved, Indians could be among the biggest beneficiaries as they currently face decades-long wait times for permanent residency due to national quotas.

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“Our outdated immigration system is hurting countless people and holding back the American economy. My bill would update the registry deadline for the first time in over 35 years so that more immigrants can apply for legal permanent residence,” said Alex Padilla.

“It could have a profound impact on millions of immigrants, some of whom have lived, worked and contributed to the United States for decades, allowing them to live freely without fear of an uncertain future,” he said.

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It could still take time for this bill to become a reality. It must first be approved and then passed by the Senate and House of Representatives before it can be signed into law by US President Joe Biden.

Meanwhile, US Citizenship and Immigration Services said it will automatically extend the validity of permanent resident cards or green cards for those who have completed the required form to 24 months. This was done to address the long processing times applicants currently face.

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