WASHINGTON: Christopher Columbus set out to discover India in the 15th century and ended up in America. Indians, of Asian stock, are heading out in droves – more than from any other country – to study and work in America of the 21st century.
A snapshot of resident non-immigrant population in the US released by the Department of Homeland Security in February this year shows that Indians, more than Mexicans or Chinese or any other nationality, constituted the largest resident non-immigrants in the US – a category that excludes tourists, business travellers, and permanent residents, but includes temporary guest workers (such as those on H1B visas) and students.
The report reveals that the resident non immigrant population in the US averaged 1.9 million during July 1, 2011–June 30, 2012. Temporary workers and their families accounted for approximately 45% (840,000) of the population, and students and their families accounted for another 40% (720,000). Of the temporary worker and family category, a whopping 38% (430,000) were from India, compared to only 210,000 from China, and 140,000 from South Korea, the next highest worker-flow countries. Mexico, which accounts for a large number of illegal migratory workers coming into US, had only 100,000 resident non-immigrants.
Of the 720,000 foreign students recorded by the Department of Homeland Security in 2012, China accounted for 150,000 (22%), India 100,000 (14%) and South Korea 100,000 (13%), the report said. Overall, about half the resident non-immigrants (980,000) were citizens of Asian countries, including India 23%, China 11%, and South Korea 8%.
In other words, despite the occasional doubts that India is being discriminated against in the US visa regime, one out of every four resident non-immigrants (who eventually may or may not become immigrants) recorded in the US in 2012 was from India. Typically, they come to the US under guest worker visa programs such as H1B and H4 (for spouses and children), L1/L2 (intracompany transferees), F1/F2 (students and their spouses), and J1/J2 (exchange students).
The report also showed that California was the leading destination state, with 270,000 (15%) of the total 1.9 million non-immigrants choosing to reside in that state. The next leading destination states were New York (210,000), Texas (140,000), Florida (100,000), and Massachusetts (90,000). About 720,000 resident non-immigrants (38% of 1.9 million) were under the age of 25, and another 710,000 were in the 25-34 age group, pointing to an education and economic imperative of the coming to America story.