Drastic increase in the last two years due to migration through employment

Mexico tops with 1,61,445 green cardsAlso, largest number of green card applications pending clearance is in India

WASHINGTON: A record number of 84,681 Indians got green cards last year and this has entitled them to become permanent residents in the United States.

According to data released by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, the maximum of 1,61,445 went to the natives of Mexico last year. India secured the second position with 84,681 followed by China with 69,967.

Most of them could opt to become U.S. citizens after the required five years of permanent residency.

The number of Indian immigrants in 2003 was 50,228, which increased to 70,151 the following year.

As per CSIS sources, the largest number of green card applications pending clearance was in India, ``most of whom have been sponsored under the family relationship category.''

The drastic increase in Indians gaining permanent residency in the U.S. in the past two years is due to migration through employment. Most of them are software professionals who came on a worker visa such as H1-B and then went through the skilled category of employees to get green cards.

The U.S. issues green cards based on family relationship, employment preferences and asylum seekers.

Professionals with advanced degrees, priority workers (those who are recruited by U.S. companies), skilled workers and aliens of exceptional ability constitute the professional category.

Under the employment category, India again claimed the largest number of green cards last year due to the large number of software professionals who migrated to the U.S. in search of jobs in the 1990s.