Indian skilled workers received just 10 percent of the available green cards in 2019, even as the share of petitions filed for Indians by employers increased from 50 percent to 53 percent. Because this disparity has persisted for years, nearly all of the immigrants waiting for green cards solely because of the low immigration limits are from India.
A persistent complaint about the H‑1B visa program for skilled foreign workers is that employers use it to replace U.S. workers, leading many to fail to find jobs. Of course, it is true that many U.S. college graduates fail to find jobs that use their education, but the fact is that the prevalence of this phenomenon has remained roughly constant for 30 years, even as the number of H‑1B visas issued has escalated.
The family members of immigrant workers must use an employment‐based green card, which would otherwise go to a skilled worker. If family members were exempted from existing quotas or there was a separate green card category for them, an additional 77,370 highly skilled immigrant workers could have earned a green card in 2018.