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Business & Preference Visas Issued Abroad

Written By The Shapiro Law Group on February 28, 2016

Immigration is going to be one of the hottest topics of 2016. As presidential candidates make immigration reform central to their campaigns, it’s important to know the statistics behind the rhetoric.

Statistics from Foreign Service Posts

Most people file their immigration petitions within the United States with an immigration attorney in Chicago or another US city. However, a significant number file their applications with US Embassies prior to their arrival in the US.

In 2011, US foreign service posts issued 1,612 E1 visas to priority workers. By 2015, that number had risen slightly to 1,891. Further, in 2011 these same posts issued 1,686 visas to individuals of exceptional ability. By 2015, that number had also risen slightly to 1,856. These remain the two most difficult employment based visas to secure.

The most popular visa, the E3 was issued to 5,560 workers in 2011. This visa is for skilled workers or professionals. This number peaked in 2013 when 6,903 E3 visas were issued by foreign service posts. By 2015, the number had fallen to 6,226.

Global Statistics

In 2015, the number of preference visas issued by foreign service posts to applicants from the various regions of the globe varied considerably. This was due to the number of applicants from each region, as well as to the various skills the applicants possessed. The following is the number of EB1 visas that were issued to applicants from the various regions:

  • Africa – 1,250
  • Asia – 5,113
  • Europe – 763
  • North America – 11,653
  • South America – 3,529
  • Oceania – 39

Immigrants by Visa Type

The number of individuals in the United States on employment based visas is a significant and growing number that shows the value of immigrants in the American economy.

The latest report from the Department of Homeland Security shows that the number of immigrant workers in the United States is increasing:

  • 38,978 EB1 workers; This was up from 31,291 registered workers in 2004.
  • 63,026 EB2 workers; This was nearly double the 32,534 registered in 2004.
  • 43,632 EB3 workers; This was down from 85,969 registered in 2004.

Interestingly, the greatest increase in visas issued was for investors. In 2004, a paltry 129 individuals were living in the US on EB5 investor visas. By 2013, that number had risen to 8,543. Taken together, it is clear that the US immigration system is evolving to favor highly skilled workers, and those individuals with the desire and ability to invest in America’s economic future.