How many highly skilled foreign-born are waiting in line for U.S. legal permanent residence?
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While the United States welcomes foreign-born students and trainees and, less warmly, temporary workers such as H-1B visa holders, it places an array of requirements, obstacles, and delays upon persons who would like to make the U.S. their permanent home. The number of people in the queue for legal permanent residence (LPR) is, however, difficult to ascertain. This paper estimates the number of highly skilled foreign-born persons waiting for LPR via the three main employment-based categories, separately by whether they are living in the United States or abroad, as well as the number of family members. We find that as of the end of FY 2006 there were about half a million employment-based principals awaiting LPR in the United States, together with over half a million family members, plus over 125 thousand principals and family members waiting abroad. These numbers dwarf the visas available annually - 120,120 plus any not used in the family preferences - suggesting that the long delays in gaining legal permanent residence are a visa number problem, not an administrative processing problem, as many believe. The backlog thus cannot be eliminated without a large change in public policy. The delay in gaining legal permanent residence could contribute to the decision of many highly skilled foreign-born to leave the United States. © 2010 by the Center for Migration Studies of New York. All rights reserved.
Published Version (Please cite this version)10.1111/j.1747-7379.2010.00812.x
Publication InfoFreeman, R; Gereffi, Gary; Jasso, G; Rissing, B; & Wadhwa, V (2010). How many highly skilled foreign-born are waiting in line for U.S. legal permanent residence?. International Migration Review, 44(2). pp. 477-498. 10.1111/j.1747-7379.2010.00812.x. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/10705.
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Professor Emeritus of Sociology
Gary Gereffi's major ongoing research projects are: (1) a book (co-authored with Frederick Mayer) on the uptake of the global value chain paradigm by major international organizations in the economic and social development arena; (2) a forthcoming co-edited volume with Valentina De Marchi and Eleonora Di Maria on Local Clusters in Global Value Chains: Linking Actors and Territories Through Manufacturing and Innovation (Routledge, 2017); (3) work with the World Bank and the Inter-Ame
Executive in Residence in the Pratt School of Engineering
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