The number of immigrant workers waiting for permanent residency in the United States are vast. Wait times for applicants from India are the longest.
USCIS has released the data that can be extrapolated to see approximately how many years it takes for those applying now to receive their green cards.
632219 immigrants from India (along with their spouses and children) are awaiting green cards. The EB-1 category, for highly skilled immigrants with an ‘extraordinary ability’ holds the shortest wait time of six years. Immigrants with bachelor’s degrees, EB-3 immigrants, have a seventeen year wait. Those in the EB-2 category, for immigrants with advanced degrees, have to wait 151 years for a green card at these rates—meaning that many may never receive them because they will be dead by then.
The wait times could start to average out because EB-2 workers almost always qualify for EB-3 as well and thus can be re-filed as an EB-3. The average between the two wait times would still be about 58 years for EB-2 and EB-3s.
While this data may have had duplicate cases (employers can re-file for the same person), USCIS excluded “revoked and reopened” petitions to try to not let this happen and keep the data as accurate as possible.
While the backlog buildup is in the EB-2 category, with nearly seventy percent of the backlog, only 13 percent of the green cards issued in 2017 were to EB-2 applicants. This is the result of a green card guaranteed minimum for each category (40,040 green cards) that does not get higher based on the amount of applicants per category and because EB-2 has per-country limits that prevent how many green cards can be issued per country. India is only able to receive seven percent of the green cards in EB-2 (unless some countries do not reach their limits).
Indian immigrants having to wait extremely long periods of time simply because of what country they are from is injust.
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