Get to know US Green Card and visa 2011 figures!

 

From the US government’s Department of Homeland Security the latest figures show that 1,062,040 people obtained their ‘green cards’ popularly known as lawful permanent residence in the USA last year, 2011.

Of these, 90,712 came from Europe. 13,443 came from the UK with a further 1,533 coming from the Republic of Ireland. The UK was the European country with the most new green card holders. Twice as many came from the UK than from Germany, which came second out of the European Countries.

32,728 Australians and 12,495 New Zealanders as well as 19,506 Canadians also gained permanent residence status. 438,580 Asian citizens also gained US permanent resident status in 2011. Of these, 66,331 came from India. More Indians gained green cards than citizens of any other Asian country apart from China.

California was the most popular state for those who gained green cards. About 210,000 of the new permanent residents reside there. 150,000 live in New York and around 110,000 in Florida. 95,000 are settled in Texas.

Nearly 700,000 of the new permanent residents qualified as family members of US citizens while 140,000 (about 13%) qualified based on employment based immigration.

Into five categories these can be broken down
1. First are the priority workers 25,251 in number
2. Advanced degrees or exceptional ability professionals with 66,831 workers
3. Third are skilled workers, professionals and unskilled workers 37,216 in number
4. 6,701 as’ Special immigrants’
5. Like EB-5 Employment creation investors 3,340 in number

There were also 55,000 who were granted permanent residency through the Green Card Lottery. The rest were largely refugees and asylum seekers.

With regards to US visas, according to the statistics recently released by United States Department of Homeland Security, a remarkable story of the rise of India as a business power in the US and in the world at large is evident. It shows Indian citizens gaining more visas in certain categories than the citizens of any other nation on earth. Only seven years ago, the story was rather different.

665,202 Indians were granted visas to visit the US in 2005. Of these, 376,156 visited on B1/B2 visas. B1 visas are granted for business travelers while B2 visas are granted for the purpose of tourism. B1 visa holders are entitled to take part in business meetings but not to undertake paid work. It is usual practice for US consulates to grant a combined B1/B2 visa valid for both business and pleasure. They are generally valid for six months though they can be extended.

According to US Department of Homeland Security as of 2005 US had granted to Indian citizens 376,156 B1/B2 and 194,611 temporary worker visas and it totals to 665,202. Comparatively in 2011, 762,575 B1/B2 and 318,955 temporary worker visas, total of 1,222,902 visas were issued.

In addition, in 2005, 61,408 Indian students were granted visas to study in US educational institutions. Almost all of the temporary visas were either H-1B ‘specialty occupation’ visas or L1 intra company transfer visas. In 2011, 96,828 Indian students went to US educational establishments.

147,920 Indians were granted H-1B visas in 2011. H-1B visas are granted to foreign graduates working in specialty occupations’ that require specialized knowledge. H-1B visas normally last, initially for three years.

There is a cap on the number of H-1B visas granted annually of about 65,000. However, H-1B visa holders can also bring their immediate families with them. This explains why the number of visas granted exceeds the cap. The citizens of no other country in the world were granted so many H-1B visas. Canada came in second place with 88,000. Chinese citizens received only 23,700 and UK citizens only 19,300.

Indian citizens also received more L1 intra- company transfer visas than any other nation’s citizens. It received 64,482 in 2011 compared to Mexicans who received 62,000 and the 45,400 granted to Japanese citizens.

L1 visas allow firms with offices both in the US and elsewhere to bring senior managers (with an L1-A visa) or staff with ‘specialized knowledge’ (L1-B visa) to work in the US.

However, this success has come at a price. Last year, figures show, Indian citizens also now suffer the highest visa refusal rates. Last year, 26.8% of applications from Indian citizens for B category visas were refused. There have also been a growing number of refusals for Indians applying in other, temporary work visa categories.

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