WASHINGTON: Indians account for more than three-fourths of those highly-skilled professionals waiting in queue to obtain legal permanent residence status in the US, popularly known as Green Card, according to latest official figures.
As of May 2018, there were 395,025 foreign nationals waiting for Green Card under the employment-based preference category. Of these 306,601 were Indians, according to the latest figures released by US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
This does not include counts of dependent beneficiaries associated with the approved immigrant petitions, it said.
India is followed by a distant second China, which currently has 67,031 Chinese waiting for the Green Card. Thereafter none of the other countries have more than 10,000 people waiting for Green Card. Other countries are El Salvador (7252), Guatemala (6,027), Honduras (5,402), Philippines (1,491), Mexico (700) and Vietnam (521).
Under the existing law, no more than seven per cent of the Green cards may be issued to natives of any one independent country in a fiscal year. As such Indians have the longest waiting period for Green Card.
Indian-Americans, most of whom are highly skilled and come to the US mainly on H-1B work visas, are the worst sufferers of the current immigration system which imposes a seven per cent per country quota on allotment of green cards or permanent legal residency.
As a result, the current wait period for Indian skilled immigrants for green card can be as long as 70 years.
According to a newly-launched group, GCReforms.org, under the current regulation, skilled immigrants from India need to wait anywhere between 25-92 years for a Green Card due to per-country limits.
The US Green Card, also known as the permanent resident card, gives the holder permanent residence in the United States. Green Card holders can legally live and work in the US. The Green Card is the first step toward US citizenship.