Over 4 lakh Indians may die awaiting permanent resident card in US: Report

India and US flag.

Four lakh of the more than 10.5 lakh Indians waiting in queue for the much-desired legal certificate of permanent residency in the US may pass away before they acquire it, according to a report cited by PTI.

A Green Card, often referred to as a Permanent Resident Card, is a legal document given to immigrants in the US as proof that they have been granted permission to live there permanently. The per-country caps are monetary restrictions on the number of green cards that can be issued to citizens of specific nations.

1.8 million cases were added to the employment-based Green Card backlog this year, according to a study by American libertarian think tank Cato Institute researcher David J. Bier.

About 1.1 million of the 1.8 million cases in the backlog are from India (63 per cent). Another nearly 250,000 are from China (14 per cent), it said.

The backlog consists of immigrants who are waiting to receive green cards, primarily the result of low Green Card caps for employer-sponsored immigrants and investors.

Because no country may receive more than 7 percent of the green cards (the country caps) unless they would otherwise go unused, the 1.1 million cases from Indians in the backlog bear most of the burden of the broken system, the study said.

New applicants from India will face a lifetime wait, and more than 400,000 will die before they receive a green card, it said.

The process starts when an employer files a petition for a worker. If no Green Card is available under the caps, the petition is wait-listed until a spot opens. Finally, a worker may file to adjust their status to permanent residence (the green card application) when a green card cap spot is available to them.

There’s a similar staged process for investors and employment-based “special immigrants” who include Afghan interpreters as well as, strangely, abandoned immigrant children.

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