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Indian IT professionals in US seek Congressional help for green card

PTI Washington | Updated on January 08, 2018 Published on October 24, 2017

A group of more than 100 Indian IT professionals on H-1B visas knocked on the doors of US lawmakers to get the country-specific quotas for permanent residency removed, saying the limitation resulted in massive green card backlogs for them.

Every year, the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) receives about 100,000 green card applications from highly-skilled Indian applicants.

However, less than 10,000 Indians receive the green card, which is a step closer to citizenship. This number keeps on increasing every year.

“We are all are stuck in this 70 years backlog. Most of us came to this country about 10 years ago,” said Houston-based Harshit Chatur, a key volunteer of the recently formed 'Skilled Immigrants In America’.

Currently working for a utility company in Houston, the Rice University graduate said he had filed his green card application in 2012.

“Because I was born in India and due to the country limit, I have to wait for 70 years, as per a lot of research,” Chatur said.

Established a few months ago by some Indian technology professionals who have been waiting for their green cards, ‘Skilled Immigrants In America’ now claims to have more than 150,000 members and chapters in 25 states of the US.

“We are legally here, highly-paid, tax-paying and law-abiding. Were we born in some other country, we would have been (US) citizens by now. The amount of positive contributions that we make to this country, (we) just want the Congress to see it and hopefully that will solve this problem,” Anirban Ghosh, the president of the group, told reporters outside the Capitol on Monday morning.

More than 100 Indian techies and professionals, some of them with their dependent kids, drove down or flew to Washington to meet top American lawmakers and their aides.

This is an awareness drive to make the lawmakers aware of our issues, they said, adding the long wait in some cases, could have devastating consequences for dependent kids.

“We have a lot of kids who were born in India and the situation for them would be worse,” Chatur said. For instance Preeti Konduri, 16, moved to the US as a six-year-old along with her father some 10 years ago.

“When I turn 21, I will be in college but I will not be able to depend on my dad’s visa anymore. I will have to transfer to an F1 visa, which would make me an international student here and I would lose many opportunities,” Preeti said, standing outside the US Capitol.

Having lived most of her life in the US, Preeti said she now faces an uncertain future because of the country-specific green card quota.

“We’re basically asking that since the children have been here for decades now and have grown up here, they should be given some relief,” she said, adding children like her are called “H4 Dreamers".

“While we’re being educated there is no difference between countries. So, when we go for further opportunities this difference comes up, and it stops you from pursuing your dreams and goals. In careers like medicine you do not have the same opportunities as students from different countries and it’s just very stressful,” Preeti said.

“When we are given jobs based on our skills and experience, why is the green card application processing based on country of birth,” Chatur said.

Published on October 24, 2017
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