Skilled Indians to wait for 70 yrs for Green Card?

The current country-specific quota policy poses a major hurdle in attracting talent from nations like India and China.

Last Updated: Oct 06, 2011, 19:17 PM IST

Washington: Professionally qualified Indians
may have to wait as long as 70 years to get their Green Card
in the US, a new study has said, amid growing concerns that
the current country-specific quota policy poses a major hurdle
in attracting talent from countries like India and China.

"Our system for allowing employers to sponsor skilled
foreign nationals for permanent residence (a green card) is
plagued by inadequate quotas that result in years of waiting
and frustration," the Washington-based National Foundation for
American Policy (NFAP) said in a report.

An October 2011 NFAP study analysed the employment-
based green card backlog and produced findings that should
give pause to policymakers.

The study concluded: "A highly skilled Indian national
sponsored today for an employment-based immigrant visa in the
3rd preference could wait potentially 70 years to receive a
green card."

Many skilled foreign nationals from China have been
waiting 6 to 7 years and can expect to wait additional years,
it said.

In the EB-2 category, second employment-based
preference, skilled foreign nationals from India and China may
wait six years or more, the study said.

"The two factors that have caused the long waits for
employment-based green cards are: the 140,000 annual quota,
which is too low, and the per country limit on employment-
based preference categories, which restricts the annual number
of green cards for immigrants from one country to 7 per cent
of the total. This, the NFAP analysis noted, means that
skilled foreign nationals from India and China, who make up
most of the applications, wait years longer than nationals of
other countries.

A number of lawmakers, policy makers and politicians
here have been demanding removing this country-specific cap on
the Green Card as well as on H-1B category of visas.
"We must stop telling American companies that they
cannot hire the high-skilled workers they need.

By making it difficult for them to obtain temporary and
permanent visas for high-skilled workers, the federal
government is slowing growth and worse, promoting the
outsourcing of American jobs," New York Mayor, Michele
Bloomberg, said early this year.

"Caps on green cards are set by countries, so Iceland
actually gets the same number of visas as India. That may be
fair to those two countries, but it`s certainly not fair to
American business and to Americans," Bloomberg said.

"We should end these arbitrary limits and end the cap
on the high-skilled H1-B visas. Let the marketplace decide.

It`s basic free-market economics, and both parties ought to be
able to get behind it," he had said.

PTI