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Study: It could take Indian immigrants 70 years to get green card

Recently, the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration Policy and Enforcement Oversight held a hearing to address why a growing number of immigrants educated in the United States wish to return to their home countries upon graduation. Two reports from the National Foundation for American Policy, a non-profit organization, appear to show at least part of the answer.

The reports illustrate that according to statistics from the U.S. State Department and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, it could take highly skilled immigrants from India, who are in the country with the most common employment-based visa, 70 years to obtain a green card. For some immigrants, that means a green card will never happen within their lifetimes.

The first of the two reports, titled "Waiting and more waiting: America's family and Employment-based immigration system," said that an EB-2 visa holder from India could wait for as long as eight years before obtaining a green card, and Indians in the country under a EB-3 visa category could wait as long as 70 years. In comparison, the report said that Chinese immigrants under the EB-3 category could wait 20 years.

The report recommended that there be 50,000 exemptions for advanced science, technology, engineering and mathematics graduates in the EB-2 category in effort to reduce the backlog in that category. In doing this, the report said, it is possible that in three years the EB-2 category could be caught up to the EB-3 category.

The second report, titled "Keeping Talent in America," described the contributions immigrants who are educated in the United States make, and debunked common misperceptions. This included the falsity that family members of green-card recipients educated in the country automatically achieve permanent residency.

The immigration process in the United Sates is complex, and there are many options when it comes to business and employment-based immigration. There are dozens of categories of non-immigrant visas, immigrant visas and temporary visas for both workers and students. What's important is to find the visa that best fits a person's needs. This is why many people consult an experienced immigration attorney for help.

Source: The Washington Post, "Lawmakers hear testimony on immigration as study finds Indians may wait 70 years for green cards," Emi Kolawole, Oct. 6, 2011.

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