The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is racing against time to give 280,000 green cards before the fiscal year closes on 30th September 2022.
While closures and restricted tasks at US consulates and consular offices through the pandemic led to large numbers of available employment-based green cards, as of mid-June 2022. USCIS and the US Department of State (DOS) have used significantly more visas than at the same point in FY 2021.
USCIS alone uses more than two times as many visas on a weekly basis than it was at this point in FY 2021.
Through 31st May 2022, the two organizations have combined to utilize 149,733 employment-based immigrant visas.
“We stay committed to taking each feasible policy and procedural move to maximize our utilization of all available visas by the end of the fiscal year,” the USCIS said in a statement.
Information from the US visa office shows that the US government had 66,781 unused employment-based green cards in the 2021 fiscal year. Even as 1.4 million immigrants are lined up for them. A majority of these are Indians, who have been stuck in the green card backlog for years.
USCIS eventually gave 180,000 green cards last year. In excess of a common year yet but still falling short of the total available.
280,000 green cards before the fiscal year end on 30th September 2022.
As per a Times of India report, the processing time for employer-sponsored green cards crossed the three-year wait time in 2022.
Paying a $2,500 fee could cut this wait time by at least seven months. Bringing it down to “as it were” 2 years and 5 months. The government has added almost 16 months to the average green card process. Starting around 2016, with over a year added in 2021 and 2022 alone.
Employer-sponsored immigrants go through six stages including a prefiling stage. That requires the candidate and employer to give reports to demonstrate their qualification for a green card.
This is followed by the Department of Labor evaluating prevailing wages, skill level, and region code. In the case of wage determination, the wait time has gone up three-fold to 182 days in 2022, from 76 in 2016.