Ever since Joe Biden became the president of the United States in January 2021, his administration has implemented and acted upon several immigration policies and procedures to resurrect Obama-era visa rules and reverse restrictions imposed by the Donald Trump administration. The advent of the Covid-19 pandemic posed further threats and delays to numerous laws and immigration policies that changed the shape of U.S immigration, especially in 2022.
With 2021 has already drawn to a close, and 2022 is here, let’s talk about upcoming changes in the U.S immigration system and critical changes to expect this year.
Changes in the H1B visa
The Biden administration will review immigration policies surrounding the H1B visa. The administration will work on the policies that earlier caused delays in visa processing and issuance under the Trump administration. In addition, Joe Biden will modify a rule implemented by Donald Trump that prioritized visas based on wages. Further amendments will provide a pathway for the spouses of H1B visa holders to work in the United States, which the previous government restricted.
In 2019, approximately 17,000 people received lawful permanent residence in the U.S via family-based visas. The family-based sponsorship program permits a foreign individual to obtain a green card if their spouse/partner, child, sibling, or parent has citizenship in the U.S.
Countries with many applicants often have to wait several years to get their green cards. The U.S has restricted the number of visas being issued to applicants coming from a particular country.
Under the Biden administration, the U.S plans to expand the access to family-based visas by increasing the per-country cap.
Increase in the visa filing fee
The Department of State plans to increase the visa filing fee at consulates from January 2022. The new fee structure will impact all non-immigrant categories, such as Tourists (B1/B2), student visas (F, M, and J), and other employment-based visas, including H1B.
The fee increase is that the USCIS needs additional funding to work on the application backlog created during the pandemic. The USCIS will also raise the petition and application filing fees in March.
Premium Processing Program
Under the premium processing, the USCIS ensures that some applicants enjoy faster processing of their applications for employment-based applications. USCIS has confirmed that the premium processing will be handled in 15 days. Otherwise, the money will be refunded. In 2022, the schedule of this service will be extended. The USCIS will reveal the case categories, final regulations, processing times, and costs in the coming months.
Relief for regional center immigrants
The year 2022 will be a relief for regional center immigrants who have invested their money into EB-5 regional center programs. The new measures will allow foreign entrepreneurs to get green cards in the United States.
Build Back Better Initiative
President Joe Biden has promised to build back a better America by doing the government work for its people. The framework will make the U.S meet several goals, including climate, employment creation, child care, labor force upgrade, affordable health care, economic prosperity, and many more. The Joe administration will welcome new entrepreneurs who can establish innovative and scalable businesses in the U.S economy.