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Trump proposes merit-based immigration policy, move to benefit Indians

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Washington, May 17: United States President Donald Trump on Thursday announced new plan to prioritise high-skilled immigrants and restrict family-based migration, a move that could end the agonising Green Card wait for hundreds and thousands of Indian professionals.

File photo of Donald Trump

The new plan primarily focusses on strengthening border security and revamping the system of Green Card or legal permanent residency so that people with merit, higher degrees and professional qualifications could get an easy access to the immigration system.

Currently, about two-thirds of the 1.1 million people allowed to emigrate to the United States each year are given green cards granting permanent residency because of family ties.

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.

Trump also announced that there would be a new "Build America" visa - details of which were not provided on Thursday.

Trump is seeking to put a softer facade on the signature issue from his first campaign as he eyes a 2020 reelection.

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