The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services recently made public its estimate of the number of people working in the country through the H1-B visa program. However, it has been pointed out that these numbers are a bit inflated due to the hundreds of thousands of visa holders who have been in the country for years while waiting to receive a green card.

Critics point to the per-country limits and overall annual quotas as reasons for the slowed process for green cards. This is the reason that many people believe best explains the more than 580,000 non-immigrant aliens who are presently holders of H1-B visas.

The report from the USCIS identified approximately 620,000 non-immigrant H1-B visa holders before subtractions were made for I-129 petitioners who were granted an alternate non-immigrant status, did not complete the process for lawful permanent residence in the United States or were denied a visa request from a consulate working in another country.

The report does not subtract the number of H1-B visa holders who either permanently left the United States or never chose to travel to America after receiving notice of an approved I-129 petition. However, most importantly to many critics of the USCIS report is the failure to mention that the number of H1-B visa holders in the country would fall sharply to fewer than 300,000 if holders of these visas did not wait so many years to receive green cards.

The laws and statutes that provide the framework for immigration policy in America can seem difficult to navigate. The fact that many of these policies are in a state of constant change only makes things more difficult. Individuals with questions regarding their immigration status or those who need help understanding the process may benefit from speaking to an experienced immigration attorney.