U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has released its Fiscal Year 2022 Progress Report. This new report outlines how the agency successfully reduced backlogs in critical areas. It also highlights how the agency met some of the immense demand for labor in many industries.
The report contains several noteworthy pieces of data. Such data includes how almost one million immigrants received U.S. citizenship in the year. This success is the third-largest number of recorded naturalized citizens, reducing the net backlog of applications by 62%.
It also highlights one of the year’s most noteworthy developments: allocating all available employment-based immigrant visas during FY 2022. This record-breaking achievement required the agency to issue double the number of EB visas it did even before the pandemic.
However, the agency had problems with an increasing number of non-citizens who had valid Employment Authorization Documents (EADs) losing their work authorization while waiting for renewal applications to finish processing. In response to this, the USCIS put interim guidance to extend the time work permits were valid for 400,000 non-citizens. This extension kept some permits from expiring while the renewal applications continued pending. However, the agency still did not comply with court orders that required them to adjudicate specific applications for EADs within thirty days.
During FY 2022, the USCIS made more supplemental H-2B non-agricultural worker visas available than in previous years due to new rules. They also increased protections for both non-citizen workers and U.S. citizens.
The USCIS implemented other policies that affected non-citizens and employers. Here are a few of these policies:
The report points out the improvements the USCIS made during FY 2022. However, the agency still faces several problems, such as long processing times. As a result, the USCIS intends to increase staffing and encourage using its online case status platform. The agency also plans to continue issuing new guidance to simplify the adjudication of applications. Despite these efforts, the USCIS admitted that it would need more appropriations from Congress to reduce its backlogs and increase its humanitarian services.
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