‘I have 150 years of wait before I can get a green card’: the endless wait of high skilled Indians in America

Akash Bhatia
Akash Bhatia, who came to the US in 2007 as student on a scholarship, says he will have to wait for 150 years to get his green card. “Surely, I am not living that long,” he says.

The human face of Green Card backlog for Indians in America.

Charlotte, North Carolina,-based Akash Bhatia came to the US back in 2007 as a student on scholarship to complete his master’s degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Florida.

Brimming with hopes and dreams he quickly made America his second home. After studies, he found himself a job at reputed multinational Siemens, got married and continued chasing his American dream, unaware that the country he considers his new home would not allow him to be a lawful permanent resident for more than a century!

Sharing his ordeal with The American Bazaar, Bhatia says, “I have been working for eight years now and during this time I have seen friends and colleagues from other nationalities rise in professional circuits and become legal residents of US, but I have been stuck in an unfair wait all because of one thing – my country of origin.”

Bhatia voices the sentiment of tens of thousands of high-skilled Indian professionals who came to the US to work or study and wanted to make America their home but instead they say that they found themselves stuck in an unfair immigration cycle.”

ALSO READ: Every week green card backlog law is delayed more people may be dying in line: Sunayana Dumala (November 19, 2019)

Talking about his case, Bhatia explains, “It was back in 2012, that I requested my employer to start my green card process. The company began filing in 2013 and it took about 2 years for me to get an I-140 (immigration petition for alien worker) approval. Now as I continue to wait, the current priority date for Indian EB-2 applicants is April 2009.

“Now, for those who may not be aware of the immigration backlog may think that my green card is 6 years away by plain math. But here is the deal, the priority date, when I applied back in 2015 was also 2009! And at this speed it would not be before 150 years that I will get my green card. Surely, I am not living that long.”

In the past many months, priority dates for Indian visa applicants have not moved beyond a couple of days, thus creating a massive backlog that now Indian high skilled professionals are now urging to remove through S-386 or Fairness for Immigrants Act 2019.

Most Indian professionals believe that an unfair opposition towards the bill that proposes to remove the per country cap on the number of green cards issued to each country, comes from the fact that an average American does not know how the immigration system works in the country.

ALSO READ: Indian national stuck in Green Card limbo forced to return after her husband’s death (October 21, 2019)

Many say that they have been targets of vitriol because some locals and other nationals have felt that they are demanding an extra share in the green card distribution.

Take the case of Cupertino, California based, Nita Patel. She says, “I came to the US on an H-4 but I managed to secure an H-1B for myself based on my experience and qualification. We raised our son here and brought a house, even though we are still on H-1B.

“But now this long wait, has left us in peril as it doesn’t look likely that we will be able to get a green card in our lifetime. We have home insurance to take care of as well as the fear that our daughter will age-out before we get green cards. It is a cathartic situation to be in.”

Bhatia too feels that there are hundreds of families who are unable to plan their future given the current backlog for Indians. He says, “I have been married for three years and even though both my wife and I work and are financially secure, whenever we think of having kids the number one thought we have is – what will happen to our kid with our immigration status in limbo. We do not want to plan our future looking at a future family separation.”

ALSO READ: Waiting for the Wait to End: The human face of Indian immigrants caught in the Green Card backlog (December 4, 2018)

Most Indians in the backlog also find it particularly frustrating as they are caught in a professional iimbo. Most cannot change jobs as their green card applications are tied to their current employers and thus have to let go of many professional opportunities and promotion prospects.

Bhatia says, “As an Indian living in America, I have never had a racist encounter. But today when I see that people who started with me at the same time professionally have reached new heights, have secured permanent residency, while I continue to stand in the line, it gives me a taste of my first racist experience in America!”


The newly passed H.R.1044 raises caps for family-based green cards (July 10, 2019)

How Netra Chavan channeled her own frustrations to build an H4 and H-1B visa support system (February 14, 2019)

RHC’s H-1B rally demands elimination of Green Card backlog, protection for ‘DALCA’ children (February 10, 2019)

Trump talks about changes in H-1B Visa, including a possible citizenship (January 11, 2019)

Trump’s tweet on H-1B and path to citizenship evokes lukewarm response (January 12, 2019)

H-4 and H-1: Time for Indian immigrants to speak up on immigration policy, says author Amy Bhatt (January 5, 2019)

The unstable life of Indians on H-1B visa in the US due to visa renewal policy (October 28, 2016)

High-skilled Indian workers, DALCA kids, rally on Capitol Hill to clear green card backlog (June 15, 2018)

Reverse brain drain – the experience of three couples who moved back to India from the US (January 20, 2014)


  1. The entitlement is sickening. As always, we don’t need you here, we don’t want you here, and we certainly did not invite you here. Common sense dictates if your wait is 150 years, you either go back to India or go invade another coun… oops sorry I meant move elsewhere. If you think you’re experiencing racism, then again, logic would dictate you move elsewhere. This should be blindingly obvious to these so-called “high skill immigrants”. If you’ve made the decision to stay and wait “because of reasons”, then you have no one to blame but YOURSELF.

    • No doubt you are aptly named ‘Dick’ and your sense is dxxx oops , i meant nonsense statements are the same. Where did you or your forefather origin from Irish, Poland, England or whatever shitty place.. oops, I meant you are also an immigrant. Just because you took asylum here few decades back doesnt grant you super status. Yes, most of indians were invited due to scarcity of high skilled people here. You know where they got people of like you good for nothing , just want to drink and watch games. Hence, request your dick .. oops, I meant your mouth from where you gutt out rubbish things before even thinking fair. Did you notice “oops, I meant” thing. Hope you get the taste of your medicine now.

      • Sorry Mr. “high skilled people”, your English is absolutely incomprehensible. May I kindly suggest you take some extra ESL courses, because I absolutely could not understand whatever gibberish you just spewed out.

    • HossCartwright

      Well Said

    • Mrs Gujju Smallschlong

      Asians suck due to their out-of-control populations posing great harm to our world. But indians are particularly treacherous always lying, cheating, deceiving everyone for the sake of their narrow selfish greedy goals, which is why their country has made zero progress 80 years after the British left it. Indians have gamed the US visa system abusing it to the max, and so many are still trying to come here illegally. How can we stop them? Even the Trump admin is finding it difficult to catch them all so they can be deported.

  2. I believe US immigration laws are essentially unchanged since your 2007 arrival in my country. What did you expect? The country of origin rule prevents a large group of like minded people from becoming politically powerful. Indian Americans seem to lobby for the best interest of India and Indians and against the best interests of Americans. Thus country limits are needed to protect Americans. If you became an American citizen would you use your vote to pressure American leaders to promote India?

  3. When will these greedy selfish indians stop indulging in their private pity parties? Isn’t she “planning for her future” by buying a house, getting insurance and stashing away cash? Cut the BS and the hypocrisy!! With all the advanced degrees, these charlatans won’t do the basic math – INDIANS ARE HATED EVERYWHERE THEY GO!!! You are not getting a green card because no one wants you here!!! You are not welcome in the US anymore, you have overstayed your invite. You should pack your bags and go back to india. You’ve already stolen jobs from US citizens and filed countless visa applications and green cards. How much is enough? How much is “fair”? NO MORE INDIAN NATIONALS IN THE US, NO VISAS FOR INDIANS. Everyone should write or call their congressman/senator and complain about these desperados who will stop at nothing to get the green card. They should be deported back to india, then the wait time will be 0 years.

    • Definitely not a Patel. This pussy is really getting pissed. Wait, “stolen jobs from US Citizens” ? do you make a 12th pass a doctor or engineer.. no, they become cheap workers at McDonald and Taco Bell or sit and write hatred messages on some blog. This website itself has stolen the word “bazaar” which is hindi word for market. so definitly owned by an Indian, who has not moderated your comments and allowed them to be published online but will definitely delete my comments because it might hurt sentiment of narrow minded and racist people like you. I could get 5 responses against each of your statements. But you know what ? I dont have time to lecture you. How possibly did you think that this process will ever stop ? You will get a sweet response in sometime :) watch out.

      • HossCartwright

        I thought I would give me 2 cents. The Trump administration will, in March 2020 eliminate the H4 visa, and WILL eliminate H1, L1 and F1 visa’s soon after. Trust me it will happen- get ready for it.

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