Would You Qualify for Legal Immigration with This Strict Screening System?

At the beginning of August, President Trump announced his support for the Raise Act, an immigration bill that would greatly curtail legal immigration and would use a strict screening tool for would-be immigrants. The screening tool is so strict that many U.S. citizens in Illinois would not qualify if they were instead people who wanted to immigrate to the country. With the administration’s aggressive push to curtail legal immigration, people who want to come to the U.S. or to remain may want to secure their visas or green cards now before the laws are potentially changed.

What is the Raise Act?

The Reforming American Immigration for Strong Employment Act is a bill that is being backed by Senators Tom Cotton of Arkansas and David Perdue of Georgia. The law would make substantial cuts in the number of people who are allowed to immigrate to the U.S. and would make it much more difficult for would-be immigrants to qualify. Under the act, people who are between the ages of 26 and 30 would be given preference as would those who have graduate or professional degrees in science, engineering, technology or math. The bill proposes a scoring system for people, and if they don’t obtain high enough scores, they would not be able to apply.

The Scoring System

The proposed scoring system would assign points to applicants based on different characteristics. In order to apply to immigrate, applicants would need to score 30 points or higher on the screening tool. The tool gives the highest points to applicants who:

  • Are between 26 and 30
  • Have advanced degrees in a STEM field
  • Have job offers to make $155,800 or more
  • Are fluent in English
  • Plan to invest $1.8 million or more in the U.S.

The tool would also give preference to applicants who have won the Nobel Prize or who have medaled at the Olympics in the past eight years. Applicants who make less than $77,000 per year would receive zero points, and an advanced degree in a field other than the STEM professions wouldn’t receive additional points. People who have less than $1.35 million to invest would receive no points for their investments. The Raise Act also proposes an English ability test for applicants.

The bill is unlikely to pass, but Trump’s support demonstrates the direction that the administration would like to go. An immigration attorney may help applicants get their visas while they still can.