How long do we need to wait?  That's what many thousands of immigrants ask every month--and some every day of their life in the US.  There are a limited number of employment based visas and, in most categories, they are oversubscribed.  Every month, the State Department issues its Visa Bulletin which helps to answer the question of whether immigrants can file for our green cards next month. The dates, "priority dates," jump forward and retrogress based on the arcane calculations as to the supply of and demand for visas.  For September 2012, the EB-2 priority date was January 1, 2009.  Meaning that immigrants with approved immigrant visa petitions in the EB-2 category filed before January 1, 2009 could file for their green cards in September 2012.  October 2012 has seen a leap forward in worldwide EB-2 to January 1, 2012.  EB-2 is available for individuals whose jobs require an advanced degree or whose work advances the national interest...highly skilled individuals.  Of course, worldwide excludes natives of countries with particularly large numbers of immigrants waiting for green cards: natives of China and India.  The priority date for Chinese born is July 15, 2007 and for India, September 1, 2004.

These waits are a disincentive to remaining in the US and waiting and waiting and...

Writing in The Atlantic, if-you-want-more-jobs-you-should-want-more-immigrants/262241/ Steve Case, Chairman and CEO of Revolution LLC, and the co-founder of America Online, said: "For a country trying to recover from the deepest recession in generations, we're undermining our economic competitiveness when we make it harder, not easier, for talented immigrants to stay here and contribute to our economy...Whoever is president in January of 2013 should make ...(skilled worker reforms)...a priority.  (They) are not costly, they are not controversial, and they offer a straightforward fix that could help unleash a new waive of entrepreneurial activity across the country." 

One visa for which there is no wait, as it is not oversubscribed, is the EB-5, for investors of $500,000 or $1 million.  Congress has passed a 3-year extension of the EB-5 that is, at this writing, awaiting the President's signature.  The few immigrants who have been able to take advantage of EB-5 have provided capital and created jobs.  There are a lot more immigrants waiting to do their part in the American enterprise.