The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) intends to put in place a new fee structure that they claim will not limit legal citizenship to people who are very wealthy. The current administration will soon be proposing this new fee plan for the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.
Back in the summer of 2020, the USCIS nearly furloughed approximately 70% of its employees. However, this did not happen, and by the end of the year, the agency had a large surplus of funds remaining. The agency credits this impressive turnaround to several factors, including improved spending controls, a hiring freeze, and the discontinuation of the requirement for new biometric data for the renewal of benefits.
The agency’s operations cost approximately 5 billion dollars annually, and most of this money comes from the collection of fees. At the end of the fiscal year, on September 30th, the agency had amassed $1.5 billion in reserve funds. The director of the agency said that although the agency did have problems, they have been solved, however, that agency remains in an unsteady situation.
The USCIS is part of the Department of Homeland security and a vital part of the immigration system. One of the congressional representatives from Florida said that 70% of the calls to her office are related to the work this agency does.
During the previous year, the wait time for citizenship applications increased to over a year, as they had during the previous administration as well. There is also a growing backlog for all of the benefits, but the director believes that several efficiency changes, including dropping the biometric identification requirement, are significant strides toward allowing the agency to work through the backlog.
Over the four months since the USCIS Director has entered the office, they have been analyzing the changes that occurred during the previous administration, such as possibly removing the citizenship of people who obtained their citizenship through lying or fraud and expanding the anti-fraud unit. Most importantly, perhaps is the agency’s reconsideration of the previous administration’s interest in ensuring immigrants were financially self-sufficient.
Though the new fee structure has not yet been released and may wait until a financial review of the USCIS allows the agency to determine what fees will permit the agency to continue to function, employers of foreign national workers may soon see changes in the fees the agency charges.
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