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After lifting green card ban, Biden to ensure high-skill immigration

After lifting green card ban, Biden to ensure high-skill immigration

President Joe Biden, who has ordered an end to his predecessor Donald Trump's ban on issuing green cards and work visas, is committed to ensuring that highly skilled workers can get permanent residence, according to his Spokesperson Jen Psaki.

Biden believes that it is important and long overdue "to modernise our immigration system, and that includes taking steps to help ensure that high-skilled workers can stay in the country and can go through the proper process to stay in the country", she said on Thursday.

"We're eager to work with Democrats and Republicans in Congress to get that done," she added while replying to a question about what he intended to do about those in the country legally but have to wait decades for permanent residentship or green card.

Two Democratic members of Congress introduced legislation last week that would have the effect of allowing more professional Indians on H1-B work visas to get green cards and cut their wait, which can stretch to several decades.

The bill introduced by Senator Bob Menendez and House of Representatives member Linda Sanchez seeks to remove the annual limits on green cards for each country, a measure that would benefit them.

State Department Spokesperson Ned Price said the Department will be normalising visa operations following Biden's orders ending the ban on issuing green cards and work visas.

"The Department of State is committed to serving the American people and to restoring our visa operations to normal as soon as possible, always prioritising the health and safety of our applicants, their loved ones, and our staff," he said.

Biden issued a proclamation on Wednesday ending the Trump restrictions on issuing green cards and work visas, dismissing Trump's claims the ban was meant to protect US interests.

Biden said that it does "not advance the interests of the US. To the contrary, it harms the United States, including by preventing certain family members of United States citizens and lawful permanent residents from joining their families here. It also harms industries in the United States that utilise talent from around the world".

Trump had claimed the ban, which after extensions was to expire at the end of next month, was meant to protect US workers in a labour market pummeled by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Trump ban exempted some categories like spouses of citizens and workers needed in the fight against the pandemic.

(Arul Louis can be reached at arul.l@ians.in and followed on Twitter at @arulouis)

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