U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is trying to approve as many employment-based green card applications as it can before the annual deadline of September 30, 2022 (the end of the fiscal year).
Primarily due to COVID-19 restrictions, approximately 140,000 family-based visa numbers went unused last fiscal year. As a result, these unused visa numbers were rolled over to this year’s employment-based visa number allocation; meaning, twice as many employment-based green cards are available this year.
What are USCIS and DOS doing in order to appropriately issue all available employment-based visas and hit the 280,000 limit this year? Among other things, the agencies are:
- Prioritizing processing and adjudication of employment-based adjustment applications at all locations;
- Prioritizing adjudication of immigrant visa petitions (I-140s) to focus on beneficiaries who are or will be current this year;
- Providing overtime and supplemental USCIS staff to support the employment-based applications;
- Initiating an aggressive hiring and training plan for new staff;
- Waiving interviews and reusing biometrics, where possible;
- Redistributing cases to match workloads with resources;
- Establishing a dedicated mailing address for requests from those who wish to transfer their pending cases to a different employment-based category;
- Encouraging applicants who know their Form I-693, Report of Medical Examination and Vaccination Records, are no longer valid to be prepared to submit a new medical as soon as they receive a Request for Evidence (RFE) (but not submit their I-693 before the RFE is issued);
- Proactively identifying applications that lack valid medicals and issuing early RFEs; and
- Temporarily waiving (until September 30, 2022) the requirement that the civil surgeon sign the Form I-693 no more than 60 days before the applicant files for adjustment of status.
Source: National Law Review