WASHINGTON (Aug. 3)
Jewish applicants for immigration visas to the United States in East European Communist countries, in North Africa and in the Middle East will have better chance to obtain such visas if the immigration bill approved today by the House Judiciary Committee is passed by Congress, and if they are individually qualified, it was indicated here today.
The State Department revealed today that an estimated 16,000 Israelis who have applied at the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv for admission to America as immigrants would be admitted within three years, if individually qualified, if the pending immigration reform bill is adopted. The total number of applicants in various countries is estimated to be about 180,000, including about 140,000 Italians registered for emigration to the United States and a large number of applicants registered in the U.S. Consulates in Greece.
The liberalized immigration bill provides for the phasing out of the national origins quota system over a three-year period. Unused quotas would be pooled and made available to the backlog of immigration visa applicants in various countries, including Israel. Israelis would be processed according to their nation of birth with priority going to so-called “preference cases.” Such cases involve persons with relatives in the United States for the most part but also include some other categories including cultural and strategic talents needed by this country.
The bulk of the estimated 16,000 registered with the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv are non-preference immigrants. The non-preference people are those with no relatives in America, no priority skills, no friends, and no money; A total of 15,122 such applicants were listed as of July 1, 1964, on the waiting list in Tel Aviv, according to the State Department.
It is estimated that all the preference categories of visa applicants registered in Tel Aviv will be admitted by July 1, 1968, or shortly thereafter — if the bill is passed. After that date the national origins quota system will be completely discarded although certain preference situations will remain. But a start may then be made on the enormous backlog of non-preference applicants.
The annual quota for Israel has been set for many years at 100 visas per year. After July 1, 1968, all nations will be entitled, theoretically, to as many as 20,000 immigrants a year provided a worldwide ceiling of 170,000 is not surpassed. But this will be based on the first-come, first-served system and fairly distributed around the world.