The reason for the longer queue for those born in India because the US imports a far-higher number of skilled Indian professionals each year than the number of green cards it can offer.
Cato Institute says that for certain H1-B categories, “Indian applicants (those with a master’s or bachelor’s degree) filing this year face a wait of about 90 years.” Citizens of other countries with fewer H1-B entrees are granted permanent residency within the first year.
With the largest share of H1-B visas granted to India-born high-tech professionals each year – on an average 75 percent of the allotted – the 7 percent country cap has created a massive green card processing backlog, hitting an all-time high of 1.2 million people in 2020. impacting Indian H1-B visa holders and their H-4 dependent families the hardest.
Neha Mahajan moved to the US from India over 16 years back on an H-4 visa tied to her husband’s H1-B visa. Her family waited for over a decade for their green card, during which she co-founded SIIA (Skilled Immigrants In America), an organisation that advocates for fair immigration policies for H1-B families. She argues that the number of green cards allotted to a country should be proportionate to H1-B visas granted.