US Immigration Visa Quotas

There is a per-country limit on the number of visas that can be issued because the U.S. does not want to have an inordinate amount of immigrants coming from any one particular country. No more than seven percent of total visas may be issued to any one country in a fiscal year, but that doesn’t mean that one country is entitled to that seven percent. Instead, it means that no country can receive more than seven percent of all the visas issued. For that reason, countries like Mexico, India, China and the Philippines can have a much longer wait time than other places. Like all other countries, they are limited to seven percent of the total visas being issued, but they have so many more applicants who are applying for the spots. With this in mind, it is important that those seeking a visa for themselves or a family member consult with a DC immigration attorney to discuss what steps they can take and the process involved.

Factors Used to Determine Quotas

The idea of spreading out the visas to no more than seven percent for any one country is to provide some level of fairness, but it has actually created a tremendous amount of backlog. The quotas are numbers that were set by Congress and they do not reflect the actual demand for immigration. That is one of the people’s biggest concerns regarding immigration laws and one of the main reasons why people are calling for immigration reform, simply because these quotas don’t reflect reality.

Impact of the Trans-Pacific Partnership

It is incredibly difficult to predict what is going to happen when and if we do have some kind of immigration reform. That is not a priority on many people’s lists. It is more of a priority to address more pressing concerns of people who are separated from their families, people who have been here for years and don’t have any path to legal residency, and also the demand for foreign employees throughout many different industries and the lack of visa numbers available for employees.

Potential Impact on the Number of Immigrants

They would have to create a special law like the one that was created for NAFTA workers. A special type of legislation would also have to be created to target that, but I do think it is a priority. A lot of H-1B workers come from trans-pacific partnership countries, so hopefully expanding the H-1B category and the amount of employment-based visas that are issued will alleviate some of the concerns from those countries. However, when and if we see some kind of immigration reform, it will be looking towards a more comprehensive solution as opposed to addressing the narrow selection of countries that are included in the trans-pacific partnership.

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