VISA NUMBERS IN 2012

Thứ Tư, 05 Tháng Sáu 201300:00(Xem: 15174)
VISA NUMBERS IN 2012
Statistics released by the US State Department tell us that in Fiscal Year 2012, Vietnam was again in the list of the Top Ten Visa Issuance Consulates. The US Consulate General in Saigon issued 23,000 immigrant visas, about 5% of the world total of visas issued last year. This number put Vietnam in 5th place after Mexico, China, the Philippines and the Dominican Republic. The worldwide total for immigrant visas issued was 482,000.

It is interesting to note that from these 482,000 immigrant visas issued last year, 40% went to applicants from Asia, mainly from Vietnam, China, India and the Philippines. Looking far into the future, we see American society where the minorities are people of European ancestry, far outnumbered by those from the other side of the Pacific and those from Spanish speaking countries.

For the past five years, the number of immigrant visas that were issued worldwide has remained fairly stable, just increasing as a result of the increases in population. There were 424,000 immigrants in 2007 and 482,000 in 2012.

If there is a new CIR, we will see some significant changes in the immigrant visa numbers next year.

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Is the global financial crisis coming to an end? There are still very high numbers in unemployment, real estate markets are still struggling and some European economies are on the verge of collapse. But, looking at the number of non-immigrant visas that were issued last year, it seems to indicate that there are more and more people in the world with money to spare for travel and tourism.

In 2007, 6.5 million non-immigrant visas were issued. This number went down to 5.8 million in 2009 when most people in the world were feeling the effects of the economic depression. However, in 2012, the number climbed back up to almost 9 million visas that were issued to non-immigrants.

Business and Tourist visas numbered 3.7 million in 2007, dropped to 3.4 million in 2009, but increased to almost 5.5 million in 2012. The past three years have seen a very clear increase in the number of people who have money to travel.

The number of student visas issued also follows a rising economic trend. In 2009, 330,000 students were given visas to enter the US. This number went to 385,000 in 2010, 447,000 in 2011 and almost 490,000 in 2012. Obviously, these students had parents who were optimistic and felt financially comfortable in sending their children to study abroad.

The H1-B visa category for skilled foreign workers has not recovered as fast as the Tourist and Business Visitor category, but there is a definite sign that IT employers are making a come back. In 2009, Consulates issued 110,000 H1-B visas and by 2012, that number had risen to 135,000.

Perhaps the world’s economists should include visa numbers in their calculations. If they do that, they may be less pessimistic about the recovery that we appear to be experiencing.

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The question is, What effect will a new CIR have on future visa numbers? There will definitely be some major changes, but we must wait to see if the new CIR actually becomes law.

Recently, the Senate Judiciary Committee passed S. 744. That was a significant step, but we are still a long way from actually having CIR as law. Now the S. 744 goes to the full Senate, and many observers believe that in June the full Senate will pass the bill.

After that, what will the House of Representatives do? That is a wide-open question. Some people think that if the Senate passes the S.744 by a wide majority, then the House will follow the Senators. For example, a 70/30 pass rate in the Senate means that a lot of Republicans and Democrats have voted for it, which means strong bipartisan support. If this happens we would expect to see House action by the end of July. President Obama will certainly sign the bill. So the next key date is mid/late June to see what the full Senate will do.

Republicans in the House are not 100% sure that passing a new CIR will bring them the needed support of their Latino voters. And, there are some members of Congress who will not agree to a path to citizenship for the 11 million illegal aliens now in the US. Therefore, some observers are now saying that a new CIR has only a 50/50 chance of becoming law.

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Q.1. Which would be better for the Vietnamese community – a new CIR or no CIR?
A.2. The answer to the question depends on which relatives you would like to bring to the US. A new CIR would mean restrictions on the F3 visas and elimination of the F4 visas. But a new CIR would also eliminate waiting times for Green Card sponsors, and would give Merit Visa applicants, Retirees, Investors and highly qualified technology applicants a better chance to immigrate.

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Q.2. The US Consulate in Saigon always said that it was not possible to use bribery to obtain a visa, but recent news reports show a very different story. How did this happen?
A.2. It seems to indicate a lack of supervision by the senior staff at the consulate.

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Q.3. What will happen to the people who “bought” their non-immigrant visas?
A.3. If they return to Vietnam before the visas expire, maybe nothing will happen. If they remain in the US and attempt to change status or extended their visas, they will probably be deported.
ROBERT MULLINS INTERNATIONAL www.rmiodp.com
Immigration Support Services-Tham Van Di Tru

9070 Bolsa Avenue, Westminster CA 92683 (714) 890-9933 
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