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Tue. Oct 4th, 2022
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MUMBAI: The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has filed a court declaration indicating that the immigration agency has used nearly all available employment-based immigrant visas (green cards) for the current fiscal that will end shortly on September 30. By the end of this month, it would have issued 281,507 green cards.
Jeremy McKinney, president at the American Immigration Lawyers Association, stated issuing 280,000-plus employment-based immigrant visas is quite a feat, something that was only possible because of staff and leadership working overtime to process applications efficiently. “This is double the number of visas normally issued in a year and truly a remarkable effort by agencies that have faced many hurdles in years past.”
More than 65,000 employment-based green cards went unused in 2021, so this is no mean achievement. However, several immigration attorneys are pointing out that the issuance process is not in order, those who applied the earliest may not necessarily stand to benefit.
Greg Siskind, immigration attorney has tweeted, “USCIS going for the easiest to adjudicate cases, versus adjudicating in order is contrary to the statue and USCIS policy. Taking shortcuts to avoid a judge ruling on the legality of reserving immigrant visas isn’t going to be left unchallenged.”
In the backdrop of the steps taken by USCIS to avoid wastage of employment-based green cards, this fiscal, the recent release of the visa bulletin was a huge disappointment to the Indian diaspora.
For Indians, in the EB-2 category (those having advanced degrees) there is a retrogression backwards of two-and-a-half years to April 1, 2012. The visa bulletin issued monthly and indicates when a foreign national living in the US can take the final step of filing an adjustment of status and obtain a green card.
Sharvari Dalal-Dheini, director of government relations at AILA added, “What this tremendous effort has also shown is that Congress needs to support the important work of both agencies through appropriations. Usually, USCIS and DOS work is fee-based, but given the huge backlog engendered during the previous administration, and by the impact of pandemic restrictions, Congress needs to keep the purse strings open to ensure that the agencies are equipped to quickly and efficiently process all those individuals who remain in the employment, family, and diverse immigrant visa backlogs. Doing so will only better our country’s recovery from the pandemic.”
“Despite the herculean effort, we must recognise that many individuals who had hoped to get their immigrant visas this year are now faced with visa retrogression and others, particularly those in the family backlog, have seen delays get even worse. As such, we must continue to push Congress to reform the immigrant visa system to ensure visas are not lost, children do not age out, our country’s employment needs are met and we can keep families together,” she added.

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