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More Than 1 Million Indians Waiting For Highly Skilled Immigrant Visas

U.S. government data confirm that more than one million Indians now wait in employment-based immigration backlogs, highlighting problems in the U.S. immigration system. The data from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services indicate many highly skilled professionals from India face potentially decades-long waits to gain permanent residence (a green card) due to a per-country limit and the low annual quota. The waits create personal turmoil for individuals and families, affecting America’s ability to attract and retain talent.

Analysis Of USCIS Data

Over 1.2 million Indians, including dependents, are waiting in the first, second and third employment-based green card categories, according to a National Foundation for American Policy analysis of USCIS data. The data reflect approved I-140 immigrant petitions as of November 2, 2023.

NFAP analyzed the data and calculated the dependents to arrive at an estimated backlog in the top three employment-based immigration categories (excluding “other workers”).

First Preference: According to USCIS, 51,249 principals are in the employment-based first preference, also known as EB-1. NFAP estimates an additional 92,248 dependents for a total of 143,497 Indians in the first preference backlog. EB-1 includes workers with extraordinary ability, outstanding professors and researchers and multinational executives or managers.

Second Preference: According to USCIS, as of November 2, 2023, there were 419,392 principals in the employment-based second preference, also known as EB-2. NFAP estimates an additional 419,392 dependents for a total of 838,784 Indians in the second preference backlog. EB-2 includes professionals holding an advanced degree and persons with exceptional ability in the sciences, arts or business.

USCIS data from 2020 suggest that the Indian backlog in the EB-2 category rose by more than 240,000 or 40% in approximately three years.

Third Preference: According to USCIS, 138,581 principals are in the employment-based third preference, also known as EB-3. NFAP estimates an additional 138,581 dependents for a total of 277,162 Indians in the third preference backlog. EB-3 includes skilled workers and “members of the professions whose jobs require at least a baccalaureate degree.” (Unskilled or “Other Workers” in the third preference are not included in the analysis.)

ReadMore: Forbes

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