U.S. President Donald Trump on Thursday announced a proposal that will include significant changes to the way green cards are allocated, by dramatically reducing the number of family-based green cards and moving towards a points-based (“merit-based”) system that will reward, among other factors, education, skills and English language proficiency.
The plan, which the President outlined at a Rose Garden gathering, with senior administration officials and influential Hill Republicans in attendance, sought to boost border security and tighten asylum procedures.
Mr. Trump’s new plan, details of which had already been reported widely in the U.S. media before the announcement, will dramatically increase the number of green cards that are given through the skills route versus the family-based route. However, the overall number of green cards, just over 1.1 million in 2017, will remain the same.
Currently, about 12% of those receiving green cards entered the U.S. based on skill-based visas (such as the H1B), while some 66% are family-based green cards.
The new proposal will increase skills-based green cards to 57%. Points will be awarded to applicants based on their education, work experience, age (more points for younger workers), English language ability etc.
New immigrants will have to show that they can financially support themselves and will need to pass a civics exam.