All green card applications must be processed within 6 months: US Presidential Commission
A green card, officially known as a permanent resident card, is a document issued to immigrants to the United States as proof that the bearer has been granted the privilege of permanent residence in the United States.
Indian IT professionals, most of whom are highly skilled and come to the United States mostly on H-1B work visas, are the worst victims of the current immigration system which imposes a seven percent quota per country on the award of the coveted Green Card or permanent legal residence.
Recommendations from the President’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders (PACAANHPI) are to be sent to the White House for approval.
If adopted, it is likely to rejoice the hundreds and thousands of Indian-Americans and those who have been waiting, some even for decades, for a green card.
A proposal on the issue was put forward by prominent Indo-American community leader Ajay Jain Bhutoria at the PACAANHPI meeting, where all of its 25 commissioners unanimously endorsed it.
Proceedings of the meeting here in the nation’s capital were webcast live last week.
To reduce the backlog of pending green cards, the advisory board recommended that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) review its processes, systems, and policies and establish new time targets internal cycle by streamlining processes, removing redundant steps where applicable, automating manual approvals. , improving their internal dashboards and reporting system and strengthening their policies.
The recommendations aim to reduce the processing cycle time for all forms related to family green card applications, DACA renewals and all other green card applications within six months and to render arbitration decisions within six months. months following receipt of applications.
The commission recommended that the Department of State’s National Visa Center (NVC) hire additional officers to increase their capacity to process green card application interviews by 100% in three months beginning in August 2022, and increase visa interviews for green card applications and render decisions by 150% – up from capacity of 32,439 in April 2022 – by April 2023.
“Thereafter, green card visa interviews and visa processing time should be a maximum of six months,” he said.
In an effort to make it easier for immigrants to stay and work in the country, the commission recommended that USCIS review applications for work permits, travel documents, and extensions or changes in temporary status within three months and rules on decisions.
Only 65,452 family preference green cards were issued in fiscal year 2021 out of the 226,000 annual green cards available, leaving hundreds of thousands of green cards unused (many of which are at risk of being permanently wasted in the future) and needlessly separating many other families.
There were 421,358 pending interviews in April compared to 436,700 in March, according to the Bhutoria policy document.
Noting that while the US population has grown significantly over the past few decades, the immigration system has not changed to keep pace, he said. Annual immigration levels were established in the early 1990s and have remained largely unchanged since then, he said.
To make matters worse, the method used to calculate annual employment and family-based immigration numbers is deeply flawed and has led to family-based immigration levels being set at their absolute minimum every year for the past 20 years. , while hundreds of thousands of green cards for family members are wasted, never used by individuals when they could be used to reunite families instead, Bhutoria said.
“The extraordinary wait time for a green card to become available is causing significant hardship for American families forced to wait decades to reunite with loved ones, even though those people are already qualified to immigrate at this time.
“Family separation has a terrible emotional impact on families, and it imposes clear logistical, economic and emotional hardships on families, and the growing nature of arrears makes the process uncertain and future planning impossible,” he said. .
Among other things, the commission also recommended that USCIS expand bonus processing to other employment-based green card applications, all work permit applications, and applications for temporary status extensions. immigration office, allowing applicants to pay US$2,500 to have their case adjudicated within 45 days. a step-by-step approach.