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Why Is U.S. Immigration More Difficult for Indian and Chinese Citizens?

Many people wonder why US immigration for Indian and Chinese Citizens is more difficult than for citizens of other countries. While technically it is not more difficult, there are longer wait times (in some cases, 10 or more years) due to per-country immigrant quotas.

According to the Migration Policy Institute, there have been significant backlogs for Indian and Chinese citizens applying for legal permanent resident status through employment-based and family-sponsored channels, due to the annual per-country quota of immigrant visas available for these categories.

The wait time to obtain an employment-based immigrant visa (rather than a family-based immigrant visa) for Chinese and Indian citizens is significantly longer than for citizens of other countries.

Why doesn’t the U.S. make it easier for Chinese and Indian citizens to immigrate?

In 2013, India and China supplanted Mexico as the top sources of newly arriving immigrants in the United States. The majority of these immigrants are young and highly educated, and have strong English skills. Many work in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields.

When legislative changes removed national-origin quotas, introduced temporary skilled worker programs and created employment-based permanent visas, the number of immigrants from India and China shot up. In 2016, Indians were the top recipients of highly-skilled H-1B temporary visas and were the second-largest group of international students in the United States.

"Increased wait times are attributable to an 80 percent increase in United States visa demands over the past five years," says a representative of the Employer Law Report. "Although the U.S. Department of State (DOS) is working with the Indian government to curb wait times by adding additional positions at the consular posts, the American Immigration Lawyers Association DOS Liaison Committee anticipates wait times will continue to worsen."

A bill had been introduced in Congress to eliminate the per country numerical limitations for employment-based immigrant visas, which if passed would have significantly reduced the wait times for Indian and Chinese nationals to obtain permanent residence. However, the bill was put on hold. This particular bill is unlikely to pass in the near future, but immigration laws are always changing and it is important to check with an immigration lawyer to see what is the most up-to-date information.

If you have any further questions about US Immigration for Chinese and Indian Citizens, please feel free to contact us and we can help you out.

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