A backlog of green card applications is causing the United States to lose trillions in GDP gains, a research report says

A backlog of green card applications is causing the United States to lose trillions in GDP gains, a research report says

MUMBAI: A new report by the Bipartisan Policy Center, a Washington-based think tank, has estimated the 10-year GDP benefits that could be achieved by cleansing Green cardAccumulated. The report – “Green Light for Growth: Estimating the Economic Benefits of Clearing Green Card Backlogs” highlights the economic potential of clearing employment and family green card backlogs in the United States.
The report estimates that the economic benefit of clearing the current backlog for 7.6 million individuals would amount to $3.9 trillion in GDP gains over the next 10 years. In other words, if the backlog persists, the US economy stands to lose trillions of dollars. Interestingly, President Biden’s recent executive order on AI called for simplifying the immigration process for those immigrants with requisite experience in this field.
The total number of green cards issued in a year is limited to 675,000 cards, of which the family-based limit is 4,80,000 and the employment-based limit is limited to 1,40,000. For the Diversity Visa (which Indians are not eligible for), the cap is 55,000. Additionally, no more than 7% of this cap can go to people born in any country.
Millions of individuals find themselves stuck in green card backlogs and enduring long waits to obtain lawful permanent resident status in the United States. Some may even die before getting their green card actually approved, the Bipartisan Policy Center’s (BPC’s) report says.
TOI had earlier reported on a research report issued by the Cato Institute. It showed that Indians bear the brunt of the labor Green card accumulation. Nearly 10.7K were held in a backlog in the EB-2 and EB-3 categories as of March 2023, which could take 134 years to process. Nearly 1.34 lakh children from Indian families will age out before getting a green card. This in turn carries with it a high risk of family separation. Nearly 2,20,000 Indians will die before they get a green card.
“Our analysis underscores the significant human and economic costs associated with these backlogs. People have been waiting decades to get their green cards,” said Jacques Malde, senior policy analyst at BPC. “This is happening as workforce shortages persist and critical jobs are missing in areas such as care.” Health. Increasing green card limits and visa processing resources would help close these gaps, strengthening the U.S. economy, international competitiveness, and national security.
While they are stuck in the backlog, people already in the US face restrictions on the jobs they can work, limiting productivity, and those who are approved for green cards but remain outside the US due to each country’s caps are prevented from contributing their knowledge. And their experiences. skills. As the US population ages and birth rates decline, increased immigration will be key to ensuring an adequate supply of workers.
Absent congressional action, the backlog will continue to grow — as it has for decades — and this available supply of talent will remain untapped.
The need for policy change
The BPC report notes that most of the estimated economic benefits come from clearing the cap-based backlog, as it is greater than processing the backlog. This underscores the importance of legislative changes that change green card limits, as has been proposed in various pieces of legislation currently pending in Congress.
It should be noted that changing green card limits would reduce current and future backlogs, and therefore would likely have greater economic benefits than the numbers presented in this report. However, policy changes focused on clearing the current backlog may be more achievable in the short term. For example, proposals to restore unused green cards are gaining support in Congress, as evidenced by several related bills introduced in recent years, such as the Backlog Elimination Act of 2023 and the USA Citizenship Act.
Any attempt to reduce the backlog on a capped basis would also require increased resources and/or efficiency improvements to visa processing, as in the Visa Processing Improvement Act.

(Tags for translation)US visa

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