A group of U.S. senators, popularly known as the "Gang of Eight," recently unveiled a bipartisan immigration reform plan. One feature of this bill gaining some attention may prove to be beneficial for those in the Chicago area who wish to receive permanent resident status, but fear that their low-skilled job may exclude them from that pathway.

If the proposed legislation is signed into law, the "W visa" would be created. This would create a guest-worker program, allowing those who are in jobs that don't require a college degree to remain in the country legally. Additionally, the new visa may provide two routes for immigrants to obtain a green card.

One way the bill could help guest workers with a W visa is that it may allow them to accumulate points, which are typically used to determine who will become eligible for a change in status. Immigrants can accumulate points based on their education, occupation and the number of family members residing in the United States.

Additionally, the bill changes existing immigration statutes and allow guest workers to remain in the country while they are applying for a change in status, including citizenship. This changes the traditional procedure for people with a work visa who are looking to obtain legal status.

Of course, it is uncertain exactly what the final immigration reform bill will look like. The good news, however, is that lawmakers are making considerations for a larger population of immigrants. The reality is that immigrants with every level of educational attainment have built lives and families in the United States and consider this country to be their home.

Source: Washington Post, "How low-skilled guest workers could become citizens under 'Gang of 8′ bill," Dylan Matthews, April 29, 2013