Employment-Based Green Cards to Expand by 41% in FY 2023
For fiscal years 2021 and 2022, USCIS carried over unused family numbers to the next fiscal year and allocated them to employment-based categories. The U.S. State Department estimates that roughly 200,000 employment-based immigrant visas (green cards) will be available in the upcoming fiscal year.
These extra visas will “fall down” first to:
- EB-1 “Priority Workers”;
- then to EB-2 “Members of the Professions Holding Advanced Degrees or Persons of Exceptional Ability’’;
- then to EB-3 “Skilled Workers, Professionals, and Other Workers”;
- then to EB-4 “Certain Special Immigrants”’ and
- then to the EB-5 “Employment Creation” category.
New EB-5 Investors Will Be Able To Jump Ahead Of Backlogs
The early part of the 2023 year will offer new Indian and Chinese EB-5 investors a chance to jump ahead of other backlogged EB-5 investors if the new investors invest in rural, high unemployment, or infrastructure projects. EB-5 investors currently in the United States investing in such above-mentioned so-called “reserved set-aside” areas will be able to concurrently file a permanent resident application (form I-485) while also getting an employment authorization document and an advanced parole travel document. However, it is widely expected that by September 2023 these reserved set-aside areas will be used up.
Premium Processing Options Will Expand
On May 24, 2022, USCIS implemented a phased approach to expanded premium processing service. In 2022, premium processing was expanded to I-140 petitions, and on January 30, 2023, premium processing will be available to all EB-1C multinational executive and manager and EB-2 National Interest Waiver petitions. The January 30 expansion will include new filings as well as upgrades on pending petitions.
USCIS’s next phase of premium processing expansion will apply to the following applications:
- Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status
- Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization
Border Policy Will Remain a Top Story
Title 42 will remain in place, restricting entry of some immigrants at the border, until at least February 2023, when the Supreme Court hears arguments on whether a coalition of states, including Texas, can challenge a lower court ruling that ordered the policy be lifted.
Federal law enforcement at the nation’s borders encountered more noncitizens attempting to get into the United States without permission in November than any other month in U.S. history — topping 283,000 encounters.
Speeding Up USCIS Processing Times
Due to improvements in capacity, technology, and staffing USCIS is expected to make significant progress in reducing processing times for many immigration applications. The agency adopted a new cycle time for goals aimed at processing cases in no more than six months by the end of fiscal year 2023.