U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021
The Biden administration unveiled its new immigration reform bill and it includes many good provisions for employment-based immigrants. However, most observers believe it is less likely the legislation will pass in its present form than that smaller parts of the bill could move independently and gain bipartisan support, making every section potentially critical.
On Feb. 18, 2021, Representative Sánchez (D-CA) introduced the U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021 in the House. (An identical bill is expected to be introduced in the Senate by Senator Menendez (D-NJ) on Feb. 22). Both bills embody the legislative proposals that President Biden announced on his first day in office.
Some highlights of the proposals for employment based immigration are below – we will provide updates in future articles:
- Increase the worldwide level of employment-based immigrants from 140,000 to 170,000 and add to the ceiling unused employment-based visas from fiscal years 1992 through 2020.
- Eliminate the per country limits, which have created very long waits for people born in India and China.
- Exempt spouses and children of family and employer-sponsored immigrants from the numerical quotas.
- International students with a Ph.D. in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) fields from a U.S. university would get green cards without numerical limits, and F students would be considered “dual intent” when applying for visas.
USCIS cancels 2020 changes to Naturalization Test
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services announced on Feb. 22, 2021 that it is reverting to the 2008 version of the naturalization civics test.
On Dec.?1, 2020, USCIS had implemented a revised and more difficult naturalization civics test (2020 civics test). The 2020 test increased the number of questions from 100 to 128, changed some of the answers and applicants had to correctly answer 12 out of 20 questions asked at the interview instead of 6 out of 10.
This is a direct result of the change from the Trump Administration to the Biden administration. USCIS states, “We determined the 2020 civics test development process, content, testing procedures, and implementation schedule may inadvertently create potential barriers to the naturalization process. This action is consistent with the framework of the Executive Order on Restoring Faith in Our Legal Immigration Systems, which directs a comprehensive review of the naturalization process to eliminate barriers and make the process more accessible to all eligible individuals.”
Applicants who filed their naturalization applications on or after Dec. 1, 2020, but before March 1, 2021, with an initial examination (interview) before April 19, 2021, will have the choice to either take the 2008 civics test or the 2020 civics test. USCIS will notify applicants who are affected by the change. If the initial interview is scheduled on or after April 19, 2021, applicants will take the 2008 civic test.
Dilip Patel of Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney PC, a board-certified expert on immigration law, can be reached at (813) 222-1120 or email firstname.lastname@example.org