U.S Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recently announced to process a record number of green card-based applications in the Fiscal Year 2022 (October 1, 2021, to September 30, 2022). According to one of the reports published by the USCIS, the United States currently has a backlog of 5.7 million cases at the end of 2019. However, by the end of 2020, due to the pandemic-related closures, USCIS’s policies, staffing issues, and inability to receive electronic applications had created a backlog of 6.1 million pending cases.
The year 2021 saw the USCIS application backlog going upwards drastically. Fortunately, around 69% of the applications got the USCIC approval in the same year, while over 808,000 applications got rejected.
The recent announcement comes as good news for many Indians waiting for their green-card application approval. The U.S will provide more visas under the high priority categories in 2022.
As per a statement released by the USCIS, “The overall employment-based annual limit for the fiscal year 2022 is approximately twice as high as usual because that limit includes all unused family-sponsored visa numbers from the fiscal year 2021, which was approximately 140,000”.
Every year, the USCIS allocates 140,000 green cards under the employment-based categories. And, each country has a share of not more than 7% of the total reserved places. However, if all family-based green cards are not used, the rest are given to the employment-based categories. The advent of the Covid-19 pandemic caused the temporary closure of many U.S consulates, thus halting their operations and making the application backlog explode.
Eligible applicants may apply for the status adjustment either under EB1 (priority workers) or workers with specialized knowledge/specialized degrees/exceptional knowledge.
Indian nationals generally experience the most extended waiting times for their green card applications because of the high number of applications and the country cap, which prevents the U.S authorities from processing applications after a specific limit.
After the announcement, many Indian nationals are now hoping to decide on their applications for the EB2 category if the authorities move fast on clearing the backlog. In the past, many applicants changed their immigration status from EB2 to EB3 due to the streamlined processing time of the latter. But now, they can again upgrade their status back to EB2.
This year, the USCIS aims to process as many applications as possible to clear the backlog and invite and retain highly-skilled foreign workers contributing to the U.S economy. To emerge stronger from the aftermath of the pandemic, the U.S government now thinks of reskilling the skilled workforce to make the U.S economy prosperous again. For more information, you can contact our immigration experts at 8595338595 or [email protected]