Green cards (U.S.A.)

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Green cards (U.S.A.)

U.S. Green cards and India

Green cards for Indians soar six-fold to 35,472 in a year

Account For More Than Half Of Cards Issued To All Countries

Shilpa Phadnis & Sujit John TNN

The Times of India 2013/08/08

Green card.jpg

In 2012, as many as 35,472 Indians with H1B visas got green cards, up from 6,000 in 2011 — accounting for more than 50% of all green cards issued to H1B holders for all countries in the year: data from the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

The common impression is that the US is increasingly trying to keep foreigners out with new immigration walls. But that’s only a partial truth; it pertains to less skilled overseas workers. In reality, the US is also trying to attract the best brains from around the world and among the biggest beneficiaries are qualified Indians.

In US, Indians with advanced degrees much sought after

A green card allows a person to live and work anywhere in America, and is a path to citizenship. An H-1B visa-holder is beholden to the employer who hired him or her, and can be deported unless the holder can find another H-1B sponsor. Most Indians, who got green cards in 2012 came from the EB-2 category, which includes professionals with advanced degrees in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math).

The number of green cards a country gets in a year cannot exceed 7% of the total available. The limit primarily restricts those born in India, China, Mexico and the Philippines, given the large numbers of applicants from these countries. The unused numbers in a year from other countries are often given to countries that have long queues. In 2012, India appears to have benefited.

“The US visa office don’t like to waste numbers. So there could be a new surge (Indians becoming eligible for green cards) in August 2013,” said Cyrus D Mehta, managing attorney and founder of the New York-based law firm Cyrus D Mehta & Associates.

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