Visa Crunch

USA To Issue Record Number Of Green Cards During The Fiscal Year 2022, Says US Department Of State

The United States Department of State (USDOS) reportedly announced that in Fiscal Year 2022, a substantial number of employment-based immigrant visas (popularly known as Green Cards) will be available from October 1, 2021, to September 30, 2022).

Annually, 1,40,000 green cards are available in the employment-based groups, with no single country eligible to use more than 7% of the overall amount. The unused family-based green cards become available to the employment-based categories. Many family-based green cards have not been used as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, which prompted the temporary shutdown of US consulates internationally and prohibited the consulates from accepting visa applications.

As a result, the extra has been allocated to employment-based categories. The overwhelming number of family-based green card applications are reviewed and managed by US consulates abroad, whereas most employment-based green card applications are processed in the US-by-US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). This surplus was roughly 1,22,000 green cards in Fiscal Year 2021, allowing for furthermore 2,62,000 employment-based green cards to be available.

In the succeeding year of 2022, it is predicted that the surplus will be 1,50,000 green cards, allowing for more than 2,90,000 employment-based green cards, a record. Every month, the Department of State issues a Visa Bulletin outlining the availability of immigrant visas in the various family-based and employment-based classes.

Until the applicant’s Final Action Priority Date is known, the application for a green card cannot be processed. Following the publication of the Visa Bulletin, the USCIS will consider whether to enable qualifying applicants in the United States to file for adjustment of status using the Filing Priority Dates or the Final Action Priority Dates (AOS).

Priority dates are set based on predicted consumption in each category and may accelerate or regress each month. There was little change in the employment-based categories that are now backlogged in the October 2021 Visa Bulletin, despite the fact that there will be a massive number of employment-based green cards available in the Fiscal Year 2022.

The DOS forecasted reversion in all EB-3 categories as early as November 2021 in the October 2021 Visa Bulletin, and that a preference date cut-off may have to be implemented for the other EB-3 categories (including the World category), not only the India and China categories.

India and China are currently backlogged in the EB-2 and EB-3 categories because demand in the India and China EB-2 and EB-3 categories surpasses the 7 per cent per country restriction on green card allocation.

Just those applicants having priority dates prior to the cut-off date will be eligible to complete the green card procedure if a priority date cut-off date is defined in the Final Action Priority Dates. 

During a stakeholder conference, the DOS stated that, while a record number of employment-based green cards will be available in Fiscal Year 2022, the USCIS has stated that it has already obtained a significant number of AOS applications for the available number of green cards.

As a result, the DOS stated that it will keep monitoring the numbers’ utilization, but that if retrogression occurs, it does not foresee movement in the EB-3 category.

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