Removing the country cap on GC applications will NOT reduce the backlog

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DirkGently

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Jul 2, 2018 93 Comments

Seems people have a false belief that the country cap is the reason for the backlog and that removing it will somehow eliminate the backlog, but it's not true.

The country cap doesn't impact the length of the backlog AT ALL. It only changes who is in the backlog.

Today all the employment visa numbers allocated to eb1/eb2/eb3 preference get used. India gets its own 7.1% cap PLUS it gets as "spillover" any left over visa numbers after everyone from "rest of world" has had their visa issued. Thus all the visa numbers are being used up, but because of the country cap it's Indians and Chinese who end up waiting for a visa, while rest of world doesn't have to wait.

If you removed the country cap the total number of visa numbers issued doesn't increase. You still have the same number of people applying and it's still more people than there are available visa numbers. Since visa numbers were already spilling over the removal of the cap doesn't create any new ones each year, just awards the existing ones to different people.

Every year the same number of people will still be stuck waiting in the backlog. The only difference is that instead of only Indians being added to the backlog, it will be applications from every country that go into the backlog.

The total number of visas issued each year won't change so it'll still take the same hundred years or so to clear that backlog, but instead of only Indians being in the backlog, EVERYONE will be.

Removing the country cap will actually make things worse in the sense that whereas the system kinda today works ok today for most people (only Indians and Chinese get screwed) removing the country cap will make it horrible for 100% of people from every country instead of horrible for only some.

The only way to fix this is to either increase the total number of visa numbers being issued each year, or decrease the total number of people getting approved. The latter would mean making it harder to get a greencard by disqualifying many of the people already in the queue today.

People could be disqualified in many ways. We could use a lottery and randomly disqualify people, we could use a point system to do it, we could deny everyone who leaves the US, and/or eliminate the unlimited h1b renewals, or any other policy that results in denying a large number of existing applications.

But unless more visas overall are issued, or more people are denied, the backlog just continues to grow at the same rate and to the same length as today

It doesn't seem to me that most people debating this issue understand that.

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TOP 93 Comments
  • Amazon xAWC68
    Removing the country cap may not reduce the backlog but removing the country cap will ensure fairness in the sense that ppl who applied earlier will get their gc earlier. The current system is totally ridiculous where ppl with priority dates in 2009 and 2010 are still no where close to getting even an ead while some who’ve applied in 2015 already have their gcs. Also once the country cap is removed it is not the plight of Indians anymore but plight of every high skilled immigrant that comes to this country and only then will all the neo liberal immigrants understand that ppl who come to this country legally and with proper documentation matter too.
    Jul 2, 2018 14
    • Amazon / Other
      DirkGently

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      I like the proportional idea but India sends more than 17 percent of the applications so it would still be a decades long wait, just maybe 50 years instead of 100.

      I think you need to add a lottery or something so that you get 17 percent and they don't have to wait, they get in right away.

      I don't see ANY value in making anybody wait decades. Better to let people win or lose quickly so they can get on with their life and not be in limbo.
      Jul 2, 2018
    • Optum / Eng
      PDij44

      Optum Eng

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      cognizant
      PDij44more
      Would that satisfy your bloodlust? Or would you rather not have any brown skinned smelly people in USA at all?
      Jul 2, 2018
    • Optum / Eng
      PDij44

      Optum Eng

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      cognizant
      PDij44more
      My apologies, I am being rude.
      Jul 2, 2018
    • Amazon / Other
      DirkGently

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      Yeah you are
      Jul 2, 2018
    • Microsoft SOkn03
      There's a reason why when grocery items goes on sale, they have to limit quantities per customer. In Vancouver, you will see Indian people taking the entire cartload of milk if it goes on sale. Even if you are standing there waiting to grab just one jug of milk, they will give zero flying f-ks about you and empty out all the cartons. First come first serve gets horribly abused by Indians even if it's something as insignificant as buying milk. Making GC FCFS is a horrible idea if the likes of Infosys are not heavily regulated first.
      Jul 22, 2018
  • Apple / Eng Marijuana
    It won’t make it horrible for 100% of the people. Waiting 3-4 years is not horrible by any means. Waiting decades is horrible.
    Jul 2, 2018 19
    • Apple / Eng Marijuana
      See, you’re moving the goalposts. You lost your “this will be so bad immediately” argument, so you’re moving towards a “this will be fine for a decade or two, but then as we approach infinity, the wait times would also approach infinity” kind of a argument. You’re more of a concern troll now, but I will respond in good faith one last time.

      This bill gives Congress 10-20 years to get a more sensible employment-based immigration system in place. In the absence of this fix, America will bleed most of the foreign talent it trained. This isn’t meant to be the be-all-end-all of immigration fixes. It is just the first place to start.

      What’s common among bills and code commits is that a series of smaller commits is usually better than a single big commit, both in terms of how easy it is to get approved, and how well it works out.
      Jul 3, 2018
    • Amazon / Other
      DirkGently

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      The bill immediately creates a decades long waiting list for everyone. That will discourage high quality applicants from countries that aren't poor.
      Jul 3, 2018
    • Apple / Eng Marijuana
      Again, it does not. Even if by “decades” you mean 20 years (being super charitable to you here), that would require a backlog of 2.8 million people. The backlog is not that big - it’s like a quarter of that perhaps. Have you even looked at USCIS stats bro?
      Jul 3, 2018
    • Amazon / Other
      DirkGently

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      You are forgetting that every USCIS application represents a whole family not just one visa.

      You are also forgetting that all 140k visas are already being issued WITHOUT clearing the backlog. The means the queue gets even longer before the backlog clears and NEVER gets shorter.
      Jul 3, 2018
    • Apple / Eng Marijuana
      I’m not forgetting about dependents. You haven’t even looked at the stats. If you had, you would know that it is very dishonest to claim that the wait times would immediately become decades long for everyone.

      I addressed the slowly-growing backlog earlier. It’s essentially a non-issue for the next “decades”.
      Jul 3, 2018
  • LinkedIn deeptalent
    I’m from China. I don’t have problem waiting longer than others a little bit given that Chinese applicants are so many. But if the wait time is going to be 10x than others I would consider it unfair.
    Jul 2, 2018 19
    • Amazon / Other yety
      No it's not only to meet labor shortages, that's what h1b is for. Your just trying to declare that GC is something YOU want it to be for your own self serving reasons.

      It's intended to ensure that immigration isn't dominated by a single country. That's an important part of it. Country should be a factor JUST SO we don't wind up with a zillion immigrants all from one country hogging the queue and preventing others from getting in.

      Getting the right mix of immigrants is AS IMPORTANT as filing the labor need. EB category is intended to bring in s mix of high skilled workers from different countries, not from only one. The diversity lottery brings in as mix of low skilled workers from different countries. I

      And yeah it's right there in the law, it's part of the definition of the EB category so no you can't just wave it off with some false and cheesy claim that it isn't allowed based on the short name of the visa category while ignoring the voluminous legislation that created it with a country cap.
      Jul 7, 2018
    • Amazon xAWC68
      Well if it isn’t for labor shortage then why do you have to go through the PERM process to prove that? And you are just trying to convince yourself that you need privilege only because of your country of birth. H1b is the only viable path to gc for high skilled immigrants to this country. Once again you don’t want a higher skilled green card. You only want the high skilled diversity visa which is totally unamerican as it is not solely based on merit.
      Jul 7, 2018
    • Amazon xAWC68
      Also yes I want the gc and so do you. But I’ve been in this country for 14 years with only one viable path where as if you are from any country other than India or China you’ll get an employment based visa in approx 3 years. If you don’t want the gc then please forego it. Otherwise stop this is charade of “oh you only want a gc but I don’t”.
      Jul 7, 2018
    • Amazon / Other yety
      Let's do the charade that US immigration policy is meant to benefit foreigners.
      Jul 7, 2018
    • VMware rm -r /
      The truth is, green card supposed to be a transition period, the ultimate goal is to become citizen. While most of Chinese will never choose to become a US citizen for they have to give up their Chinese citizenship. If green card becomes a no waiting period but 5 years only, after 5 years you either become a citizen or get out. Majority of Chinese won't even apply for GC.
      Jul 10, 2018
  • SAP Iuy987
    I can only say that USCIS should not blatantly approve i140s. The number of i140s approved should not have been greater than 1.25 times GC to be issued in any given year. What can be expected when no of i140s approved is probably 20x,30x,40x the yearly GC quota. Also beats me why L1 visa holders can apply for GCs.
    Jul 2, 2018 5
    • Microsoft SalKhan
      And what problem does that solve?
      Jul 2, 2018
    • SAP wmmpd
      That of a long queue
      Jul 2, 2018
    • eBay xMCp75
      Why should an L1 not be allowed to apply for GC when H1 can? Both are non-immigrant visas
      Jul 2, 2018
    • Microsoft SalKhan
      That is like saying having no queue solves the problem of having a long queue. There is a long queue of people waiting for the green card, some for a decade or more. Not giving them I-140s doesn't solve the problem it only makes it worse because now they have to renew their H1B every year instead of once every 3 years.
      Jul 2, 2018
    • eBay xMCp75
      It helps set expectations right. There would be fewer people in the queue, more people considering alternative options - going back to India/ other countries, have a proper scrutiny for the need for H1B at each renewal instead of making it an automatic renewal till eternity, thus ensuring only the ‘best and the brightest’ are awarded the visa (serving its primary purpose)
      Jul 2, 2018
  • Microsoft OWrM03
    There is no SPILLOVER. If a country doesn't use the GC quota, then another COUNTRY cannot use it for EB1/2/3. Visa and GC are two different process. There is no quota for Visas. Quota exists only for GC.
    Jul 2, 2018 5
    • Amazon / Other
      DirkGently

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      Yes there is. Here is an article you can read to learn more about it:

      https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/how-140000-employment-based-green-cards-given-per-reza-nosraty-rcic

      There isn't MUCH spillover because most of the visas actually get used and therefore don't spillover, but that is my point in post 1.
      Jul 2, 2018
    • Microsoft OWrM03
      You may want to refer to the official site for clarifications. Here is the link from USCIS site that details the limit at 7% for a country. There is no SPILLOVER. https://www.uscis.gov/tools/glossary/country-limit
      Jul 2, 2018
    • Amazon / Other
      DirkGently

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      You may want to refer to the link I provided above. The country cap is applied first, then spillover is applied second.
      Jul 2, 2018
    • Microsoft OWrM03
      Here is what USCIS says: No more than 7 percent of the visas may be issued to natives of any one independent country in a fiscal year.
      Jul 2, 2018
    • Amazon / Other
      DirkGently

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      Now Google"spillover" and learn how that's true except that any unused visas from non backlogged countries after that rule has been applied then get allocated to the most backlogged country's eb1 queue, and then spill down to its eb2 and then eb3 category.
      Jul 2, 2018
  • Salesforce V!branium
    So what you’re essentially saying is - you'd rather folks from the most backlogged countries die waiting than have the others suffer more of a backlog ? I call bullshit on everyone having to wait a 100 years . The wait time for other countries will go up yes and the wait times for super backlogged countries will go down , if this isn't fair, I don't know what is . Sure , you can lobby Congress to increase overall number of visas but that shouldn't be at the cost of backlogged folks having to continue to suffer .
    Jul 2, 2018 1
    • Amazon 123raj
      Bhaiya how many times do i have to repeat myself? Nobody except indians gives a shit abt this so nothing will change.
      Jul 2, 2018
  • Apple / Eng Marijuana
    You have a very strange definition of “most people”.
    Jul 2, 2018 2
    • Amazon / Other
      DirkGently

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      By most people, I mean the majority of people who apply for greencards. It's patently unfair to the minority of applicants from India and China.
      Jul 2, 2018
    • Apple / Eng Marijuana
      The majority of EB green cards are indeed filed (generally by employers, but some are self-petitioned like the national interest waiver) for people from India, China, Mexico, and Phillipines. These are, unsurprisingly, the backlogged countries. The others do not have a wait time.

      Employers love the backlog, of course (much how they love non-competes, and non-poaching agreements aka wage theft).

      Eliminating the per-country cap will remove the incentive for employers to hire from backlogged countries to force retention.
      Jul 2, 2018
  • Roku / Eng
    jHGl30

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    jHGl30more
    Yeah yeah yeah. Get your Indian consulting ass out of here.
    Jul 2, 2018 1
  • Google blok
    The facts are, after H.R.392 is passed the following green card numbers will become first-come first-serve and be used for backlog elimination - regardless of the beneficiaries country of origin:

    Year 1 after passage: 100% of EB1 + 85% of 85% (i.e. 72.0%) of EB2 & EB3.
    Year 2 after passage: 100% of EB1 + 85% of 90% (i.e. 76.5%) of EB2 & EB3.
    Year 3 after passage: 100% of EB1 + 85% of 90% (i.e. 76.5%) of EB2 & EB3.
    Year 4 onwards - 100% of all EB categories (fair non-discriminatory first-come first-serve).

    Link: https://m.facebook.com/notes/immigration-voice/hr-392-sabotage-their-lies-our-facts/1818318524901030/
    Jul 2, 2018 3
    • Amazon / Other
      DirkGently

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      Doesn't matter what order you take people in, so long as there are more applicants than spots the queue just gets longer and longer no matter how you prioritize among the applicants. The current system that approves more i140 every year than there are visas eventually results in an infinitely long queue no matter how you do it.

      To fix it you either need to issue more visas or deny more applicants so that the quantity being enqueued equals the quantity being dequeued.

      BTW, why do you think first come first serve is fair? There are many fair ways to do things. Country caps that are proportional to population would also be fair for example.

      Is it good to make people from wealthy low emigration countries wait in long lines behind hoardes of people fleeing poor, high emigration countries? I don't think so. I think that's a problem that will result in lower quality immigrants just because they are more willing to wait in long lines.
      Jul 2, 2018
    • Stripe aplqzm
      @DirkGently what is the logic for having country quota given it's employment based visa? Shouldn't only skill matter? It would have made sense had it been a diversity lottery, but it's not. And please do clarify what do you mean by 'lower quality' immigrants.
      Jul 3, 2018
    • Amazon / Other
      DirkGently

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      It's permanent immigration, many things matter.

      By lower quality I mean less meritorious, less capable, less intelligent, etc.

      The point is that long queues and ridiculous hurdles discourage people, and a top notch person is MORE likely to give up and not bother applying than a lower quality person. The top notch person has other options for a good life without immigrating while the lower quality person with fewer options is more willing to put up with nonsense to get a spot.

      So making a long wait actually lowers the quality of immigrant we get. Currently the GC process is efficient for most applicants but removing the country cap will add long waits for people who today don't wait, lowering the quality of immigrant from rest of world.

      We need a fix that doesn't involve waiting.
      Jul 3, 2018
  • Visa / Eng Suite E
    They should try to give Green Cards for most, of not everybody in the line as soon as practically possible and put a temporary hold on new green cards to everybody except maybe student visa holders. Saying this as somebody not even in the line. I feel having people living in artificial uncertainty is a lose-lose situation. Bad for the immigrants, bad for the country as a whole.
    Jul 2, 2018 2
    • New / Eng Y3S
      Immigrants took a chance. Nobody is suffering except them. They are neither citizens, nor permanent residents. Let's face it, nobody gives a f##k about them.
      Jul 2, 2018
    • Visa / Eng Suite E
      Look at it from a purely pragmatic view. The US will also benefit from immigrants having more freedom. It’s not like they’re being thrown out. More money will stay in the US, more investment will be made, potentially job growth due to some immigrants starting up companies because they’re not visa slaves. Less downward pressure on wages.
      Jul 2, 2018
  • Kronos wOkE27
    Most of the backlog is because of fraud by desi consultants and unskilled Indians. Here is a fun fact most Indians who are employed in America would not even be able to crack an Interview in India. I would say about 20% of the H1Bs are genuinely skilled rest of them are fake. They survive in their job using "Job support or puppet support" they crack interviews because of Proxy and they get selected because they fake their resumes. It's a huge problem outside silicon valley. How is it fair that an India student from Stanford does not get selected in the H1B lottery and has to go back?
    Jul 5, 2018 3
    • Visa / Eng D.Va
      What does that tell about the companies that hire them.
      Jul 5, 2018
    • Kronos wOkE27
      Companies are not always aware of these scams. That is not how subcontracting works. When you hire a landscaping company to mow your lawn do you know or can you control who they hire or send to mow your lawn?
      Jul 6, 2018
    • SAP luy987
      Also, what does it tell about the immigration system? While Stanford grads are forced to leave the country. They want shit, get shit and deserve shit.
      Jul 6, 2018
  • Amazon xAWC68
    Nobody is making anyone from a wealthy country wait. If you arrived from a wealthy country in 2015 you’ll get your green card earlier than anyone who arrived from the countries that you deem poor in 2018. Similarly if you arrived from a poor country in 2009, you should get the gc before someone who arrived from any country in 2020 or 2049 or for that matter 2060
    Jul 2, 2018 1
    • Amazon / Other
      DirkGently

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      If you remove the country cap then everyone will be in a long and growing queue. More i140s are approved every year than i485s so the wait eventually grows to infinity regardless of who gets to go first.

      Problem is that people from poor countries are more willing to wait in limbo for years than people from rich countries are, so you will get lower quality immigrants just because the good ones from rich countries give up and stay where they were while worse ones from poor countries are desperate enough to exist in limbo for twenty years to escape their country.

      This is why I support country caps, but to make them fair caps they should be proportional to population. Canada (my country) should have only an 0.4 percent cap while India should get 17 percent, to make it fair.

      Giving Canada with 35 million people the same cap at India or China is obviously horribly unfair. On the other hand I don't think it's good for the US to make Canadians wait behind a decades long line of people from poor countries. Even Indians give up and move to Canada, what do you think Canadians will do? The best will look at the queue and just never even bother to apply, which will be a loss for the US.
      Jul 2, 2018
  • VMware rm -r /
    Remove country cap, soon enough American will speak Chinese and Hindu. These two counties combine have 1/3 of world population. These two counties also have super strong causes to make people want to seek immigration.
    Jul 10, 2018 0
  • Uber / Eng Bonzai
    It might help shed more light on the issue if white people are affected.
    Jul 9, 2018 0
  • This comment was deleted by original commenter.

    • VMware Kbrh25
      Thanks for you insightful comment.
      Jul 2, 2018
    • Amazon 123raj
      Exactly.
      Jul 2, 2018
  • Commvault Java867
    Lawmakers read your long post..They are working on it.Good you posted and made them aware..😀
    Jul 3, 2018 0
  • New / Eng Y3S
    Nobody is asking, us, peasants 'would you like your Visa number emailed or fedexed?', or 'would you like world become fair overnight?'.
    Whining is pointless.
    Jul 2, 2018 0

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