Numerical Limits on Permanent Employment-Based Immigration: Analysis of the Per-country Ceilings [July 28, 2016] [open pdf - 945KB]
"Four major principles currently underlie U.S. policy on legal permanent immigration: the reunification of families, the admission of legal permanent residents (LPRs) with needed skills, the protection of refugees, and the diversity of admissions by country of origin. These principles are embodied in federal law, the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) first codified in 1952. […] Currently, permanent immigrants (or LPRs) enter the United States based on a preference system. Non-immigrants, who are admitted into the United States temporarily, are not admitted through this preference system. There are five preference categories for employment-based LPRs and each has its own eligibility requirements and numerical limitations, and at times different application processes. Per-country ceilings are an additional numerical limitation placed on permanent immigration in order to prevent any one country from taking too large of a share of the visas. […] The report opens with brief explanations of the employment-based preference categories and the per-country ceilings governing annual admissions of LPRs. The focus is on the five major employment-based preference categories. The report continues with a statistical analysis of the pending caseload of approved employment-based LPR petitions. The same analyses of approved pending employment-based petitions are performed on two different sets of data: approved pending petitions with the DOS [Department of State] National Visa Center; and approved pending petitions with USCIS [U.S. Citizenship and Immigrant Services], known by the petition number as the I-485 Inventory. The report concludes with a set of legislative options to revise per-country ceilings that are meant to serve as springboards for further discussions."
CRS Report for Congress, R42048
Federation of American Scientists: http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/index.html