The end of September marks a significant deadline for a large set of employer based green card applicants: 100,000 available green cards will expire at the end of the month, closing out the fiscal year for employer based immigration. After a tumultuous 18 months with COVID-19, immigration delays and bans, this allotment of visas could be an opportunity where professionals already located in the United States could transition over from work permit to legal permanent resident. In fact, nearly 90 percent of the immigrants who would be eligible for the expiring mass of green cards are Indian nationals currently in the U.S. on temporary work visas. This past year and a half only add to the setbacks and delays that have faced with decades-long wait times to receive permanent residency.
There are multiple factors weighing in on the action, or inaction, of the administration to move these applicants forward. The surplus of available green cards is heavily tied to two main facts: the 2020 cap for applicants was not reached due to the pandemic, and the program installed some changes such as extending the time period between medical exams for applicants. This helps applicants who are clogged in the system awaiting processing. Additional delays and deferments occured due to a change of power in Washington and a transition heading the USCIS, currently headed by the Biden administration’s appointee, Ur Jaddou. In addition to these USCIS related factors, there are additional delays in the Department of State and the processes required for applicants, such as interviews. For visa applications where the foreign national is abroad, the State Department has to interview applicants at consulates, many of which are still seeing pandemic closures, or extremely limited appointment availability and other restrictions.
Foriegn applicants looking to move forward with employer based green cards are growing increasingly frustrated with the slow pace of adjudication and want USCIS to fast-track applications for visas, permanent residency permits and naturalizations, making use of green cards that were left unclaimed because of the pandemic and Trump administration policies.
There is also frustration around the fact that the Diversity Visa Program has not advanced as anticipated, with the Biden Administration moving quite slowly to accelerate this program and process foreign talent from countries with low immigration rates into the United States.
While this deadline is quickly approaching, an immigration attorney an help advise your next steps for transitioning your work visa to a green card. If you’re looking for an experienced employer green card attorney, contact our team of lawyers today for a complimentary consultation.