Earning Points Under Donald Trump's Immigration Programme

On the 2nd of April, US President Donald Trump got involved in a bill that would remarkably reduce illegal immigration and replace the current visas based on employment with a point system.

The idea resembles the systems used by the authorities in Australia and Canada, which were often praised by Donald Trump, in giving points to potential immigrants based on broad categories. The 140,000 visas that are made available every year by the system would be first offered to the people who obtain the most points.

If the plan will be approved by the Congress, which will be a heavy lift, the candidate who achieved the biggest number of points, as an example, without including special circumstances, would be a potential immigrant aged between 26 and 31 who holds a professional degree or a US-based doctorate, fluent in English and whose salary offer is three times higher than the average income from where they are.

Also, having an Olympic medal or a Nobel Prize would help too and a candidate is obliged to have at least 30 points in order to apply.

Points for age

One of the main categories taken into consideration for receiving points is age. Prime working ages will have priority in receiving points. For example, a candidate whose age is between 18 and 21 receives six points, while those aged between 22 and 25 receive eight points and the ones aged between 26 and 30 receive 10 points.

For people out of the prime working ages, points will decrease. As an example, candidates with ages between 31 and 35 receive eight points, the ones aged between 36 and 40 get six points, those aged between 41 and 45 receiving four points and the ones aged between 46 and 50 get only two points.

Minors who are aged under 18 and candidates aged over 50 do not receive points, even though the ones aged over 50 are still allowed to apply.

Points for education

A candidate will receive points depending on the highest degree achieved. For a US high school diploma or its foreign equivalent, one point is awarded, while five points are given for a foreign bachelor’s degree and a US bachelor’s degree is worth six points.

Seven points are awarded for an applicant with a foreign master's degree in STEM fields and eight points are awarded for a US master’s. Someone who has a foreign professional degree or doctorate receives 10 points, while a US equivalent holder receives 13.

Points for English ability

Education is another category taken into consideration. To receive points, a candidate must show the ability to use the English language, as it is determined by standardized English test.

A candidate who doesn’t obtain at least a 60th percentile proficiency does not receive points. A percentile between 60th and 80th means six points, a candidate with a percentile proficiency between the 80th and the 90th gets 10 points, 11 points are offered to someone who has a 90th percentile proficiency or above, while a candidate who is in the 100th percentile range receives 12 points.

Points for job offers

There is a single point scale which determines if a candidate really has a job offer in the country and it comes as a salary in an attempt to boost wages.

If an applicant has a job offer which can pay at least 150% of the median household income in the state where the candidate will be employed, he or she gets five points. In this situation, eight points are awarded if the income is 2 times the median income, while if the income is 3 times the median income 13 points are awarded.

Points for major international awards

“Extraordinary achievements” lead to bonus points that are mainly reserved for the winners of major international awards. A candidate who won a Nobel Prize or something “comparable” is granted 25 points.

 Points for sport performances

Someone who earned an individual Olympic medal or an international sporting event that is relatively competitive earns 15 points.

Points for investors

A category of visas would be eliminated by the bill. The visa category in question stimulated foreign investment in the United States. The EB-5 programme was used by the family businesses of Jared Kushner, Donald Trump’s son-in-law, to put up major real estate projects.

Such a concept means that six points are awarded to an applicant investing $1.35 million into a “new commercial enterprise” in the US, maintained for three years and the applicant must hold the business management as the primary application. If the investment is worth $1.8 million, up to 12 points can be granted.

Points for spouses

If applicants want to bring their spouse with them, they are required by the bill to figure out how many points would the spouse earn under the same rubric.

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