Wait List Explained 02/10/13

Written by: Dwight Myfelt

With all of the discussion about wait lists for green card cases, we thought it would be helpful to discuss some of the numbers involved, to get a real sense of the problem.*

Worldwide Green Card Limit

Each year, a total of 140,000 green cards are be issued based on employment related cases. This 140,000 total covers all levels of employment cases, from jobs which require high levels of education and skill, to low skill-jobs. The 140,000 number also includes cards issued to family members such as wives and unmarried children under 21 as dependents of the individuals who have the jobs that qualify them for the green card.

Per Country Green Card Limit

In addition to the the 140,000 world-wide limit, each individual country is limited to a maximum of 7% of the 140,000 employment based green cards issued each year. If more people apply for green cards than the number of green cards available for a country, a waiting list is established. That waiting list grows cumulatively from year to year. For example, if 3,000 people from a country applied for but did not receive green cards in in 2010, and another 3,000 from the same country applied for but did not receive green cards in 2011, the waiting list at the beginning of 2012 would have 6,000 people added to it for those two years.

Specific Waiting List Numbers As of January 1, 2012

Periodically, the Department of State issues a report regarding the number of people waiting for green cards in the employment based categories. These numbers are interesting, and to a point, mildly shocking. The latest numbers are reported as of January 1, 2012.

Employment Second Preference (Job Requires at Least Masters Degree)

People Waiting in Line as of January 1, 2012:

China: 150

India: 42,400

All Other Countries: 150

Employment Third Preference (Skilled Workers, Including Jobs Which Require a Bachelors Degree)

People Waiting in Line as of January 1, 2012:

China: 625

India: 44,500

Mexico: 550

Philippines: 6,700

All Other Countries: 5,100

Dependent Family Members Decrease the Number of Workers Who Enter

The above numbers don’t truly describe the size of the wait list for the following reason: the only people who are counted in the wait list are the actual employees themselves. Their family members are not counted for the purpose of figuring out how many people are waiting. Which means that even though the the list for Second Preference India had 42,400 people on it, that really does not reflect the number of people on the wait list who will be issued a green card. There are actually far more people in line. Assuming each of the members on the list have one or two dependent family members, the number is far, far larger than 42,400.

Conclusion

For many people, the above numbers are shocking. In January 1, 2012, India alone had nearly 87,000 people in line, just for the Second and Third employment based preference categories. Add all the dependent family members and suddenly you have a huge number of people in line for a country that is only allotted 7% of the 140,000 employment based green cards issued each year. Only after reviewing these numbers does one begin to get a real sense of the wait facing people from India, China, and the Philippines.

*The goal of this post is to provide a general overview of the process. It is not intended to address every possible exception to the rules which govern the issuance of green cards. Several situations are not addressed because they do not significantly affect the overall numbers. In addition, some of the cases are duplicates because the individual has taken another job and a new petition has been filed on their behalf. These numbers also do not include applicants who have already filed for adjustment of status. Some applicants abandon their cases. Others upgrade their cases. For these reasons, the numbers identified in this post do not perfectly reflect the number of cases waiting to be processed. They do, however, offer an insight into the staggering size of the problem.


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13 Responses to this article

 
Rud February 10, 2013 Discuss on Twitter @healthcarevisas Reply

thank you for the thorough explanation :) now i have an overview of those numbers… this is a sad reality if the per country limit will be eliminated… Philippines EB3 is my category and it would really hurt my case badly if it happens :(

 
Dwight Myfelt February 12, 2013 Discuss on Twitter @healthcarevisas Reply

We can only hope that some exception is made for healthcare cases if they do eliminate the per country quota.

 
moon February 11, 2013 Discuss on Twitter @healthcarevisas Reply

we are riding on the same boat, Rud…the current is against us…hope the wind direction will push towards our desire in God’s grace. :)

 
Dwight Myfelt February 12, 2013 Discuss on Twitter @healthcarevisas Reply

Well said.

 
Rud February 11, 2013 Discuss on Twitter @healthcarevisas Reply

March visa bulletin is out … from 22 August to 01 September …

 
Dwight Myfelt February 12, 2013 Discuss on Twitter @healthcarevisas Reply

The good news is, it moved ten days. The bad news is, it only moved ten days.

 
Rud February 12, 2013 Discuss on Twitter @healthcarevisas

it feels bad than good.. well at least it moved from August to September ^^ now i feel better lol

 
moon February 12, 2013 Discuss on Twitter @healthcarevisas Reply

we have to move on…

 
Rud February 12, 2013 Discuss on Twitter @healthcarevisas Reply

exactly… I think it will still take decades for our PD to be current. We have to move on and try other opportunities in other countries. If it comes, it will come.. our life should not be held up for decades of chasing a mere reality.. :)

 
Dwight Myfelt February 12, 2013 Discuss on Twitter @healthcarevisas

Agreed! Your life should not be held up for decades.

 
Bheng February 12, 2013 Discuss on Twitter @healthcarevisas Reply

so if there will be an elimination of per country limits, it will be an all indians on the front line…that’s what i can see…

 
Dwight Myfelt February 12, 2013 Discuss on Twitter @healthcarevisas Reply

Which is why people are pushing so hard to get an exception for healthcare workers. Otherwise, this will be a problem for many from the Philippines and other countries.

 
Rud February 12, 2013 Discuss on Twitter @healthcarevisas Reply

the best thing we can do is hope and pray that may all the odds be ever on our favour :)

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