According to data from the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), more than 800,000 Indians are awaiting work-related green cards in the United States.
Indians comprise the biggest demographic at 68 per cent of the 1.2 million applicants in queue, awaiting employment-based green cards in 2020, The Economic Times reported.
In fact this backlog of 1.2 million cases is the highest ever and CATO Institute's Center for Global Liberty and Prosperity has estimated that sponsored Indian applicants may face an eight-decade delay - theoretically, 200,000 will die before reaching their turn, the report noted.
The next biggest demographic is Chinese nationals who comprise 14 per cent of the applicant pool and the remaining 18 per cent are from the rest of the world.
Employment green cards are issued under the Permanent Employment Program (PERM) for employers to hold high-skilled workers by facilitating their residency in the country. A 7 percent or 140,000 individuals cap is in place, annually.
The backlog, as per the CATO paper, is due to this cap and not processing delays.
Notably, 121,609 green cards have been carried forward to 2021 under EB-2 and EB-3 categories as President Donald Trump's anti-immigration drive left them unused.
Any reform from next President Joe Biden could be a long drawn process, with wait-time estimates running to 84 years.