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Jun 11, 2018

Shocking Report: India EB-2 Backlog Calculated to be 151 Years

Matthew Galati

On June 8, author David Bier of the Cato Institute published a sobering analysis of the employment-based Green Card backlogs for India-born beneficiaries:

As of April 20, 2018, there were 632,219 Indian immigrants and their spouses and minor children waiting for green cards. The shortest wait is for [EB-1 visas]. The[se] immigrants from India will have to wait “only” six years. EB-3 immigrants—those with bachelor’s degrees—will have to wait about 17 years. The biggest backlog is for EB-2 workers who have advanced degrees. At current rates of visa issuances, they will have to wait 151 years for a green card. Obviously, unless the law changes, they will have died or left by that point.

To put this in perspective, the Republic of India gained its independence from the United Kingdom only 71 years ago. EB-2 applicants filing today would have to wait over twice as long as the entire history of Indian independence!

Because current immigration policy counts spouses and children towards preference category allocation, the report notes that over 430,000 India-chargeable applicants are waiting for their EB-2 priority dates to become current.  Based on worldwide demand and per country caps, only 13% of all available EB-2 visas were issued to Indians in 2017. The report notes that EB-2 demand this year is higher, however, throttling advancement in the “Green Card queue” even more.

Truth be told, no one knows exactly how long wait times will be. Bier himself notes a few caveats with his analysis, such that Indian EB-2 applicants may soon downgrade to EB-3 (the opposite of what was happening a few years ago), and many may give up on U.S. immigration. Indeed, many applicants might consider immigrating elsewhere, such as to Canada; a “substitution effect” of sorts. Some of the petitions may also be duplicates.

Additional caveats not mentioned in the article that would shorten the wait are that many children will “age out” and thus not be eligible to immigrate as derivatives of their parents, and certain beneficiaries may marry individuals born elsewhere and thus avail themselves of cross-chargeability. What is abundantly clear, however, is that the wait times for Indian-born applicants in the EB-2 and EB-3 categories are prohibitively long to be practical.

Without significant changes in the law or policy, perhaps the only solutions are immigrating through EB-1 (for the few who have the work histories or accolades to qualify) or EB-5 (for those who have the capital to invest). Regarding the latter, join us on June 19 for an informative webinar regarding EB-5 for Indian investors. We also invite you to contact us today with your inquiries regarding immigration to the U.S. or Canada.

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