lists for visas. As Table 2.5 illustrates, as of January 1994, about 3.6 million people were on the U.S. State Department lists of persons registered for visas, most of whom had registered as family-preference immigrants. Two preferences had over 1 million registrants: spouses and minor children of permanent residents and brothers and sisters of U.S. citizens. Waits for visas are particularly long for applicants from the Philippines, Mexico, and India. For example, in December 1996 immigrant visas for brothers and sisters of U.S. citizens from the Philippines were issued to those whose U.S. relative had petitioned for their immigration in November 1977 (Bureau of Consular Affairs). Given the growth in the number of registrants in this category since 1977, recent applicants can expect an even longer wait if current immigration provisions are maintained.

In the employment-preference categories, the majority of admissions are of skilled workers or those admitted on the basis of high levels of education, along with their dependents. Executives and managers of multinational corporations are also an important component of these admissions, accounting for 58 percent

TABLE 2.5 Immigrant Waiting List, January 1994

Type of Preference

Number

Family Preferences, total

3,462,147

1st

Unmarried adult children of citizens

63,499

2nd

Total

1,498,075

 

Spouses, minor children of permanent residents

1,047,496

 

Unmarried adult children of permanent residents

450,579

3rd

Married adult children of citizens

257,110

4th

Brothers and sisters of citizens

1,643,463

Employment preferences, total

149,974

1st

Priority workers

8,315

2nd

Professionals with advanced degrees, aliens of exceptional ability

11,159

3rd

Total

125,083

 

Skilled workers and bachelor's degree holders

30,735

 

Unskilled workers

94,348

4th

Special immigrants

5,241

5th

Employment creation ("investors")

176

Total

 

3,612,121

 

Source: U.S. Commission on Immigration Reform (1994:Table 6:198).



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