n the past few decades, it has been the norm to migrate to the United States through study in the United States. However, for Chinese mainland students, the road is now getting narrower and narrower. Based on the number of Chinese employment-based immigration applications published by the USCIS, as well as the annual green card quota; If you start applying for a green card now, it will take about 10 years to get it.
Studying in the United States and obtaining a green card through employment-based immigration are usually EB2 and EB3 categories, of which EB3 is given to applicants with a college degree, and EB2 is for graduate students and above. For Chinese-born applicants, there are long queues because of the large number of applicants but the limited quota for green cards each year.
Chinese-born applicants, after the Form 140 (that is, proving that the employer provides a job offer for foreign workers) will be approved by the immigration bureau, will get a “priority day”, that is, PD (Priority Day), the applicant is considered to be officially entering the priority period, and usually the longest waiting time for employment-based immigration is this stage.
According to the September priority date announced by the USCIS on August 2023, 8, the priority dates of EB8 and EB9 are July and September 2 respectively. In other words, applicants in July and September 3 will need to queue for 2019 years to get a green card. In addition, the application process often takes a long time to review documents, so the actual time to obtain a green card is much longer than 7 years.
Chinese applicants in 2019 will have to queue for about 4 years; If you start applying for a green card in 2023, how long will it take to queue? According to figures released by USCIS in March 2023, 3,140 EB2 and 3,2279 EB3 applicants from China were approved on Form 1, adding up to 4557,4.
These more than 6836,4 applicants may have spouses and children, and it is conservatively estimated that they will occupy 1,2 EB3 and 2 green card places. Chinese applicants can get 3,2803 quotas from EB5608 and EB10 each year, adding up to a total of 2,3. It takes about years for the waiting applicants to be divided by the annual quota to digest the current EB and EB inventory.
In other words, if there is no major change in immigration policy, and the green card is obtained through EB2 and EB3 employment-based immigrants, Chinese mainland applicants who start applying in 2023 will have to wait at least 10 years to get a green card.
In fact, it is not only the 10-year waiting list that makes Chinese students who want to stay in the United States “collapse”, but also the historically low work visa H1BWinning rate. The H1B work visa is the best way to maintain legal status that can work until you get your green card. Many employment-based immigrant applicants will get an H1B work visa before starting the green card application.
According to data released by USCIS, the H2023B winning rate in 1 is only 14.6%; Although there is a second draw of “Haidilao” this year, the overall winning rate is still very low. This newspaper has reported that some Chinese have participated in the H6B lottery 1 times and have not been selected.
Southern California immigration lawyer Xu Junliang pointed out that according to current data estimates, it will indeed take almost ten years to digest the backlog of cases. However, he is still confident about the future path of employment-based immigration. He analyzed that four or five years ago, Congress passed a bill to allow the unused green card quota of other immigration categories to be allocated to EB2 and EB3, and the backlog period has advanced significantly. However, these quotas may not be available every year.
As for whether there will be unused green card places allocated to EB2 and EB3 in the future. Xu Junliang said that it is difficult to say at present. However, in the face of increasingly long backlog times, he believes that the US government may take measures, and USCIS has also taken action recently. For example, strict investigation of H1B lottery abuse, some green card applications exempted from interviews, etc. In the future, the number of international students in the United States, the economic situation, etc. will also change, and the demand for green cards will be affected by it, and the length of the waiting list will also change.
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