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Old 08-22-2007, 02:19 PM
irock irock is offline
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Default San Jose Mercury News article -- Many green card seekers wait seven years or more

http://www.mercurynews.com/businessh...nclick_check=1
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Old 08-22-2007, 02:21 PM
BumbleBee BumbleBee is offline
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  #3  
Old 08-22-2007, 02:23 PM
irock irock is offline
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Many green card seekers wait seven years or more
RESEARCHERS SAY BACKLOG COULD SPUR `REVERSE BRAIN DRAIN'
By John Boudreau
Mercury News
Article Launched: 08/22/2007 01:34:02 AM PDT



For more than 1 million immigrant professionals and their families, applying for green cards is the bureaucratic equivalent of an interminable phone tree: Please hold and hold and hold, according to a new study to be released today.

The backlog can be seven or more years, a frustrating experience that could eventually lead to a "reverse brain drain" as engineers, researchers and doctors give up and return to their home countries, the report's authors said. However, they do not provide data that backs their suspicions.

As of Sept. 30, 2006, there were more than 500,000 workers, and another 555,000 family members, waiting for green cards, according to the report, a third in a series under the title "America's New Immigrant Entrepreneurs." It was prepared by researchers at Duke, New York and Harvard universities.

The study is part of ongoing research that looks at the importance of immigrant entrepreneurs to the U.S. economy. In addition to immigration backlog estimates, the report reveals that foreign-national inventors file large numbers of patents from the United States.

New York University sociologist Guillermina Jasso culled reports from the U.S. Department of Labor and the Citizenship and Immigration Services to come up with her estimate of the backlog of 1 million highly skilled immigrants and their family members awaiting permanent resident status in the United States.

Every year, the United States grants green


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cards to about 120,000 of these applicants. So even those who have cleared bureaucratic hurdles still must wait as long as seven to 10 years, she said.
One reason for the long wait is federal law limits the number of visas issued to immigrants from any one of the major sending countries to just 7 percent of the total employment-based visas available every year. So immigrants from China, India, Mexico and the Philippines who populate the American workforce could end up waiting much longer than those from, say, Iceland.

There is no single federal agency that compiles backlog numbers, Jasso said. "We are using the best available data to try to come up with a number," she said.

Report co-author Vivek Wadhwa said the research is designed to spotlight highly skilled immigrant workers whose plights have been overshadowed by the debate in Washington about illegal immigrants.

Earlier this year, Wadhwa reported that 52 percent of Silicon Valley start-ups had at least one immigrant as a key founder.

The latest report reveals that foreign nationals living in the United States were named as inventors or co-inventors in 25 percent of patent applications filed from the United States in 2006, and they accounted for 36 percent of the patent applications from California.

Foreign-national innovators also played a major role in international patent applications filed by numerous large U.S. companies. In 2006, they contributed to 72 percent of Qualcomm's international patent applications, 60 percent of those filed by Cisco Systems, 58 percent for Intel and 38 percent for Hewlett-Packard. They also represented 41 percent of the patent applications filed by the U.S. government.

The arduous green-card application process could trigger a wave of immigrant professionals returning to their home countries, Wadhwa said.

Immigrants awaiting green cards can find themselves in career limbo for many years. If they change job titles, even within their sponsoring companies, they must begin the green card application process again, said Wadhwa, who is executive-in-residence at the Pratt School of Engineering at Duke.

"These guys can't go anywhere," he said. "You can't go from being a programmer to a project manager because that's a different position.

"The difference between the skilled workers and the unskilled workers is, the unskilled workers are in desperate situations. They are not going back," Wadhwa said. Indian and Chinese engineers, on the other hand, can return home and find themselves in great demand, he said.

At the moment, though, there is no research that shows a vast exodus of highly skilled immigrants, Jasso said.

"There is no question that if someone faces a seven-year wait, they may become discouraged and go elsewhere," she said. "But we just don't know. Even if someone leaves, it does not mean they leave forever. Immigrants have demonstrated they want to go where their skills and knowledge will be put to the best use."
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  #4  
Old 08-22-2007, 02:30 PM
gc_chahiye gc_chahiye is offline
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Old 08-22-2007, 02:35 PM
mpadapa mpadapa is offline
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Default thanks irock

irock thanks for the article.

IV should contact the "New York University sociologist Guillermina Jasso" mentioned in the article. His analysis aligns with IV analysis..
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