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Part 2: The long and difficult road to legal immigration

We are discussing a recent article published in USA Today that describes the difficulties most foreign nationals face while going though the often long legal immigration process.

According to the article, the two most common routes for legally immigrating into the country are through family or employment. Family-based immigration visas are capped off at 226,000 per year, while employment-based visas are capped at 140,000. As you can see, these numbers offer no guarantees.

Family immigration is known to have considerably shorter wait times for immediate relatives of U.S. citizens or their soon-to-be spouses. But the shortest wait times are seen among people with advanced degrees or considered to have "extraordinary ability" in arts, athletics or business, the article said.

Even though the wait time for work-based visas is typically shorter, a lawyer who specializes in helping businesses bring skilled immigrants to America to work said that delays are still common. She said that one problem is that there are not enough different categories for work visas available. She said that this is especially true for workers coming from Mexico.

For people who are not immediate family members of citizens or "extraordinarily" skilled, the wait to get through the legal immigration process can take years and possibly even decades. As mentioned above, the country the applicant is coming from also plays a factor.

For example, the article gave the story of a Pilipino man whose brother holds U.S. citizenship. He said that he wants to join his brother in America but the specific type of visa he needs has a wait time of 23 years before his case is assigned a number and his visa application can be processed.

If there's one thing for certain, it's that the legal immigration process in the United States is complicated. Luckily, there is help available, whether you are a business owner trying to bring over workers or a citizen trying to reunite with a loved one. Find a skilled immigration attorney in your area who can help guide the way.

Source: USA Today, "Immigrants find legal paths to U.S. long, difficult," Brian Lyman, Oct. 24, 2011.

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