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US Worker Green Cards are Down Sharply

April 5, 2011
Plain English Version

There are fewer jobs for foreign workers in the United States. The reason is the recession and high unemployment.
The number of applications for green cards dropped in 2008. It is still going down in 2009.
Employers sponsor foreign workers when they need them. They must prove they could not find a U.S. worker who can do the job. Employers must show the company has business. They must pay the legal wages. The worker must have special skills.
There were:

  • 235,000 applications in fiscal 2007
  • 104,000 applications in fiscal 2008
  • 36,000 applications in 2009 (first eight months)

In fiscal year 2007, most applicants came from India, Mexico, the Philippines, China and Korea.
The hospitality and financial industries have lost many jobs. Many foreigners worked in those companies. More workers who are American are trying to get those jobs.
One benefit of the drop is that the large backlog of applications is going down. Waiting time has gone from 15 to six months.

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