Statistics indicate that the United States government did not issue approximately 25% of the employment-based green cards available for the 2021 fiscal year. Instead, the government issued 195,507 of the 262,288 green card numbers, even though approximately 1.4 million immigrants were waiting to obtain employment-based green cards, wasting 66,781.
There are five categories of employment-based green cards, each of which is assigned a limit. Any unused cards from one area are supposed to transfer to others in need, ensuring all cards are used within the allotted timeframes. But because the government did not make the necessary changes quickly enough, these cards expired without use last year.
Indian immigrants are more affected by green card waste than other immigrants. Statistics show that 82% of immigrants waiting for a green card due to caps are Indians. This wait is because immigrants from specific birthplaces are limited to 7% of green cards, and half of the new green card applicants are Indians. The 7% limit reaches total capacity quickly because of these numbers, meaning Indians applying after hitting the cap join the backlog. In contrast, people from countries that have not hit the 7% limit will get a green card with adjudicated applications.
However, there is an exception to this per-country cap. If all of the other countries do not reach their limits, Indians are permitted to exceed the 7% limit, which they have been. As a result, issuances in the EB‑2 and EB‑3 categories went up from 5,793 in the 2020 fiscal year (FY) to 43,200 in 2021. In FY 2021, the extra employment-based green cards gave Indians 6.5 years of additional issuances in one year.
The fact remains that the 67,000 green cards wasted could have helped more immigrants seems even worse to those waiting for theirs. Since these green cards expired, Indian immigrants will be waiting roughly 11.5 years.
In FY 2022, the employment-based cap is higher than the previous fiscal year. After considering the numbers from the first quarter, some attorneys and agency officials are concerned that the government will be wasting employment-based green cards this fiscal year, too.
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