Nearly 11 lakh Indians are worst hit by the green card backlog, with new applicants from India expected to have a lifetime wait, a report by Washington DC-based Cato Institute stated. It added that 4.24 lakh applicants may die waiting for green card, 90 per cent of them being Indians.
Green Card is basically a Permanent Resident Card, and allows you to live and work permanently in the United States.
According to the report, the employment-based green card backlog touched a record 1.8 million cases this year. This backlog comprises immigrants who are waiting to receive green cards, this due to low green card caps for employer-sponsored immigrants and investors.
No country may receive more than 7 percent of the green cards (the country caps) unless they would otherwise go unused, the report added.
When an employer files a petition for a green card to the worker, the plea is wait-listed if no green card is available under the country cap. A worler may file a plea to adjust the status to permanent residence when a green card spot is available.
In March this year, at least 80,324 employment-based pleas were pending, representing about 1,71,635 applicants with their spouses and minor kids of the workers included.
Another 13 lakh applications were waitlisted and 2.89 lakh were pending adjustment of status applications. Some employment-based immigrants were waiting for immigrant visa adjudications at consulates abroad, the US State Department has not provided information regarding this.
The Cato report spoke about a backlog of 123,234 permanent labour certification applications, which is the start of the employment‐based green card queue.
Such is the backlog that 4.24 lakh applicants may die waiting for their green cards. Out of these, 90 per cent of them will be Indians. On the other hand, Chinese applicants face 17-year-wait. The waiting period for Salvadorans, Hondurans, and Guatemalan applicants are longer.
This employment-based green card application backlog comes on top of the 83 lakh case backlog for family-sponsored system. It means that legal immigration to the US is nearly impossible, the report added. Even entering the backlog is considered to be good fortune, and those who make it through that stage face the prospect of not getting green cards in decades or even during their lifetime.