Simplifying the US employment-based visas and their paths to green cards

The US has been the top draw for immigrants since 1970, and India was the top country of origin in 2022, surpassing China and Mexico. Although the H-1B temporary visa is still the most commonly used visa among Indians, it’s also problematic, according to Shilpa Menon of LCR Capital Partners. There’s a limited number of H-1B visas, and they are allotted by lottery, such that even the most highly qualified workers have only a 30% chance of getting one. Even with an H-1B visa, workers are dependent on their employers, and they can’t change jobs easily. And wait times for conversion to a green card are very long. Other US visas, such as the EB-1, EB-2, EB-3, EB-4, and EB-5, have differing requirements and often shorter wait times, and may be more useful for certain immigrants. For example, the EB-1 is for individuals of extraordinary ability, professors, researchers, and certain multinational executives. The EB-2 is for immigrants with advanced degrees and extraordinary abilities—though it has a long wait time for a green card. The EB-5 investor visa, which requires applicants to invest either $800,000 or $1,050,000 in a new US business that creates at least 10 jobs, has the shortest wait time, at about 24-36 months as of 2022. What’s more, holders of H-1B visas can simultaneously apply for an EB-5 visa. As of 2022, India was the top country of origin for EB-5 visa applicants.

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