Tech companies in the US are on a firing blitz just before the holiday season. These US tech companies are also synonymous with H1-B visas - the coveted visa program that brings in tens of thousands of foreign workers each year to the US in special employment roles.
And Indians are the ones who receive the most H1-B visas every year. But its dark side is more evident now than ever.
The 195-year wait: Getting the H1-B visa is no longer a step closer to getting a "Green card" or permanent residency in the US. Because the step to that American dream now is a 195-year wait.
Indians tend to stay on H-1B visas longer than any other group due to brutal green card backlogs. According to a congressional report, if an Indian H-1B holder filed for a green card in 2020, it could take as long as 195 years to get their green card. 9/— Sinduja Rangarajan (@cynduja) November 21, 2022
The path from an H-1B visa to a green card has many hurdles pic.twitter.com/NUcYiE1Ea0— David Bier ⬆️ (@David_J_Bier) November 17, 2022
The mismatch: This enormous backlog is due to the mismatch in the number of H1-B visas granted and the annual green card cap set by the US. For most countries, the cap is about 26,000.
For those with children, the complications are bigger as the visa status threatens to rip apart families. Immigrant children are not considered dependants as soon as they turn 21. Hence, unless they get a job and a work sponsorship or a college admission where they are supposed to pay full overseas student fees, they risk being deported.
Regardless, for H1-B visa holders and their children, the current backlog and system mean that in this lifetime they may not get a 'green card'.