June 15, 2012
Immigrating legally to the United States is not easy. “Over the past several months, skilled foreign nationals have seen no improvement in their prospects for obtaining green cards and, in fact, wait times are likely to increase in employment-based immigration categories,” according to a new report released by the National Foundation for American Policy (NFAP), an Arlington, Va.-based policy research group.
An October 2011 analysis found the wait times for skilled immigrants, particularly those from India and China, could last 5 to 8 years, or potentially even decades in some cases. The State Department has reported in the latest Visa Bulletin that wait times could be imposed on individuals from countries other than India and China in the employment-based second preference (EB-2), for persons of “exceptional ability” and “advanced degree” holders, with the employment-based first preference (EB-1) category (outstanding researchers and professors, aliens of extraordinary ability) also possibly becoming backlogged as well.
Unlike the long-term problems in entitlement programs such as Social Security, the solutions to reducing the long wait times for employment-based green cards are easy to implement and have received bipartisan support. These solutions center around two areas: eliminating the per country limit and providing more green cards.