But not everything is all right even if it seems so from outside. Permanent residentship in the US, a nation full of immigrants which many intend to call it their full-time home, remains a mere dream as their applications remain stacked in the queue for years.
Anuj Christian, an Indian living in the US for over 13 years legally, said his immigration petition filed by the employer is approved, but his green card is yet to see the light of the day.
He said he arrived in the US on a student visa to pursue masters in science and later got a job when his company filed for the work visa, which is commonly known as H-1B visa.
Later, the employer filed the immigration petition to the relevant authority and was approved.
“I still do not have my green card,” he said. He argued his green card did not get issued as US immigration policy has an upper limit for a country irrespective of its population or other parameters.”I did not get green card because I was born in India. If I was born anywhere else or any other country than India, I would have had my green card by now,” he said.Category of his green card application was “employment based immigrants” which is for people with advanced degree or exceptional ability and the category was created to fill the skill gap in the labour market and to ensure the US doesn’t lack behind in tech, science, and healthcare.
Total number of green cards the US issues each year for employment-based immigrants category is 140,000. “Putting a limit is fair but what is not fair is that the Immigration Act of 1990 put a 7 per cent cap (per country) on this category, which means no single country can get more than 9,800 visas under this category each year,” he argued.
“As soon as 9800 green cards are issued each year to one particular country, people of other countries who haven’t reached the quota get more priority even if they are less skilled or less experienced.”
As per estimates, he said as many as 1 million Indians living in the US are waiting in queue to get their green cards and are uncertain when their backlog will be cleared.
Comparing India which has 1.4 billion people and another having minuscule population, he said both the countries, according to the prevailing immigration policy, only 9,800 individuals will be able to get green cards.
“Some people argue that this cap is there because the US does not want many people from just one country but they do not have such a cap when it comes to student visas or work visas. US receives the majority of international students from India, who are a big part of all the research going on at Universities. If there is a country cap on student visas, their research and endowments they receive will be affected. Indians are the one receiving the highest number of work visas(H-1B) as well. If there is a country cap on work visas, many US corporations won’t be able to find the high-skilled workers they need. US universities and corporations will oppose strongly if there is a cap on student or work visa but right now they aren’t speaking up because they aren’t getting affected much with the country cap on permanent residency.”
To maintain the diversity, the US already has a visa program, he said, which is based on lottery. It provides about 55,000 green cards just based on luck from the countries with low-immigration.
“Because of this cap, many of the people who came with me or many much much later are now US citizen because they were not born in India and that is the frustration many Indians are living under seeing people around less experienced or less skilled become permanent residents before them,” he said.
“Some of the challenges we have to face on daily basis are huge lack of security and stability. Because on work visa if you lose your job, you have to find another job which sponsors your work visa within 60 days otherwise you have to leave the country. It doesn’t matter how long you have lived here.”
He was clear that it was not just Indians who are waiting in a long queue but he asserted that there should not be any cap on skilled-based visas.
“If there is any job opening in the US, first it should go to Americans and if not enough Americans are available, then they get the best of the best from outside the country.”
Stating that not many are aware about these issues, he is currently on a journey to capitals of 50 states in the US and intends to complete it within a year. He only motive is to raise awareness among people.
He said he believes there isn’t much awareness among Americans about what he termed as a “discriminatory and unfair” country cap on skilled-based green cards, and added it’s hurting the US economy.