Indian tech employees working in the United States who don’t leave the US after the expiration of their H-1B visas get sponsorship companies offering permanent jobs. This often takes the H-1B visa holder to the path of a green card which makes them eligible for permanent residency in the US. The only problem here is the fact that this path can now be extremely long.

Highly skilled foreign workers, on expiry of their H-1B visa have the option of going for an EB-1 visa if they have “extraordinary” ability. Similarly, EB-2 visa is granted for skilled foreign talent with advanced educational degrees and EB-3 for bachelor’s degree holders.

As of mid-April 2018, there were more than 300,000 Indian immigrants with EB visas waiting for their green cards as revealed by the Cato Institute. If you add spouses and minor children of the visa holders to that list, the total number will exceed 600,000.

According to the research by the Cato Institute, the approximately 217,000 Indians on EB-2 visa have a very faint possibility of ever getting a green card.

“At current rates of visa issuances, they will have to wait 151 years for a green card,” Cato reported Friday.

The math is simple. Each visa category will be awarded not more than 40,040 green cards and there exists a per country cap of 7 percent for the issuance of green cards and that explains the long (albeit nearly impossible) wait time for green cards, as per the Cato Institute.

The shortest wait is for the highest-skilled category for EB-1 immigrants with ‘extraordinary ability,’ as per Cato.

“The extraordinary immigrants India will have to wait ‘only’ six years. EB-3 immigrants — those with bachelor’s degrees — will have to wait about 17 years.”

As per the 1965 legislation that enforced the 7% cap per country on green cards, Estonia is one country which will have a much easier time getting permanent residence status than Indians.

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