Applying for a U.S. green card
can be a tedious process – but for some it takes even longer than for others. According to the most recent Visa Bulletin from the U.S. Department of State
, green card applicants from certain countries are waiting many years for their employment-based green cards - even if they are eligible.
Overly long wait times are created by large numbers of applicants from certain countries like India and China and restrictive quotas created by the U.S. government. Only seven percent of the yearly quota of employment-based and family-based green cards can be given to applicants from the same country – regardless of population size. If additionally a large number of applicants from the same country flock to the same category, which again can only take up certain fractions of total yearly green cards, categories can get backlogged even further. Some categories, like “other” or “unskilled workers” currently only allow for 10,000 visas to be given out per year – this is where Chinese workers seeking permanent residence in the U.S. have caused an impressive 11 year and seven months backlog.
During the current congressional session, which commenced Jan 3, some lawmakers are expecting a push to abolish at least some of these quotas. In that case, India and China could dominate green card statistics in the future – at least until the backlog has cleared out. A report by the bipartisan Congressional Research Service
concluded in December that the current quota system was deterring some employers from picking candidates from certain countries in fear of excess wait times. On the other hand, the report acknowledges that the removal of quotas would let certain industries and the nationals they preferably hire dominate employment-based immigration – “at the expense of foreign workers from other countries and other industries that might employ them."