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Green Card Backlog: Over 4 Lakh Indians Will Die Waiting for US Green Card

Green Card Backlog: Over 4 Lakh Indians Will Die Waiting for US Green Card

Written by Sanjay Kumar

United States

Country in North America

  • Capital: Washington, D.C.
  • Dialing code: +1
  • Currency: U.S. dollar ($) (USD)
  • Gross domestic product: 23.32 lakh crores USD (2021) World Bank
  • Electricity consumption per capita: 12,993.97 kWh (2014) World Bank
  • Energy use per capita: 6,804.00 kg of oil equivalent (2015) World Bank
  • Demonym(s): American

In a startling revelation, a new study has unveiled that more than 4 lakh Indians will die before they receive a US green card, adding that over 11 lakh applications from Indians are pending in US’s employment-based green card backlog.

The study, conducted by the US-based think tank Cato Institute, sheds light on the harrowing predicament faced by Indian immigrants seeking permanent residency in the United States.

A green card, formally known as a Permanent Resident Card, grants immigrants permanent residence status in the United States. However, the extensive backlog in processing these applications has created a dire situation for hopeful Indian immigrants.

Overwhelming Indian Presence in the Backlog

The report highlights that Indians make up a staggering 63% of the total 18 lakh employment-based green card applications currently pending in the United States. This backlog adds to the already substantial 83 lakh pending applications stemming from the family-sponsored immigration system.

A “Life Sentence” of Waiting

For new Indian applicants, the backlog equates to what the report calls a “life sentence” with a staggering wait time of over 134 years. Shockingly, the study predicts that approximately 424,000 employment-based applicants will succumb to the long wait, and a distressing 90% of them will be of Indian origin. Given that Indians constitute half of all new employer-sponsored applicants, nearly half of the immigrants sponsored for employment will never receive their green cards during their lifetimes.

Disadvantages for Highly Skilled Indian Professionals

The United States heavily relies on Indian and Chinese professionals for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) roles. However, due to the cap of only seven percent of employment-based green cards being allocated to individuals from any single country annually, Indian applicants face a significant disadvantage. This backlog disproportionately affects employees of US businesses with advanced degrees, including highly skilled STEM professionals and US-educated graduates.

A Growing Crisis

The prolonged wait times for green cards have evolved into a simmering crisis in the United States, leaving Indian applicants in a state of perpetual uncertainty. Despite efforts by the current Biden administration and initiatives from Indian-American lawmakers, the situation remains bleak.

The report concludes that these astounding backlogs and extensive waits underscore the near-impossibility of legal immigration to the United States. Even reaching the point of entering the backlog requires a substantial stroke of luck, and those who make it through face the daunting prospect of potentially never receiving their green cards, sometimes for decades or even their entire lifetimes.

The dire state of green card processing for Indian immigrants underscores the urgent need for comprehensive immigration reform in the United States to address this humanitarian crisis and provide a fair and equitable pathway to permanent residency for all qualified applicants.

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