Family members received the majority of employment-based US green cards in 2022

US IDs – SS and Green Card

Family members accounted for 55% of employment-based (EB) green cards issued in the United States in 2022, according to a new report.

THE report, from the libertarian think tank Cato Institute, found that of the total EB green cards issued, 55 percent went to family members, leaving the remaining 45 percent to skilled workers. This distribution has persisted in recent years. Although Congress capped the number of EB green cards at 140,000 per year, the government issued 270,284 in 2022, drawing on unused green cards in other categories. As a result, nearly 60,000 additional green cards are expected to move from family to professional categories in 2023.

This contrasts with the global norm, where immigrants with family backgrounds and those working for jobs generally follow separate paths. However, in the United States, family members get green cards from the same skilled worker pool, rather than having a separate category.

To free up more EB green cards for skilled workers, the report suggests Congress either exempt family members from the cap or create a new category for them.

Another solution could be to exempt those adjust their status of the EB green card limit. IIn 2022, 82% of EB green card recipients were already legally residing in the United States, having changed status from another visa. Excluding status adjustments from the cap, the number of highly qualified workers from abroad would be multiplied by 4.5.

Read the full report here.

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