Presidential Advisory Committee Recommends the Recapture of Unused Green Cards

Presidential Advisory Committee Recommends the Recapture of Unused Green Cards
July 19, 2023

The U.S. President’s advisory commission recently announced a recommendation concerning 200,000 unused green cards. Green cards are Lawful Permanent Resident Cards (Form I-551). The 200,000 cards have gone unused from 1992 to 2022 and belong to the family and employment categories. 

According to the announcement, each fiscal year would use some unused visas in addition to the 140,000 annual limits. This action will continue until the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has recaptured all unused cards. Using these visas should help people waiting in long backlogs.

Individuals receive these cards after receiving permission to live and work in the U.S. permanently. Ways to acquire these cards include sponsorship by an employer or family member, individual filing, asylee or refugee status, or humanitarian programs. Normally, only 140,000 employment-based green cards become available each year. However, recapturing the unused employment-based visas will allow more people to qualify every fiscal year.

Congress authorized the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to issue a certain number of both employment-based and family-based visas each year. However, due to bureaucratic delays, some green cards go unused. Over time, this has led to many unused visas. This backlog is why one advisory commission member on Asian American, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders recommended two possible solutions.

One of these solutions is the recapture system. It would allow the U.S. Department of State (DOS) and DHS to recapture the unused employment- and family-based green cards from 1992 to 2022. As explained, it would allow the agencies to add these visas to the 140,000 issued employment-based visas each fiscal year.

The second solution concerns the annual limit. It would have the DOS and DHS establish the availability of all green cards under the annual limit. This availability would remain valid even when they cannot process the paperwork within the fiscal year. The commission member also suggested they apply this retroactively. This action would recapture any unused green card before the policy takes effect.

These solutions could help many workers waiting to obtain green cards. It would also help employers by allowing them to obtain and retain more workers. However, employers must still complete the employment eligibility verification (Form I-9) for all hired individuals. The best way to ensure they complete the form is by using an electronic I-9 management system. This system guides employers through the process step-by-step and safely and securely stores the forms.

When it comes to your employees, automation makes eligibility verification quick and simple. Ensure compliance today with I-9 Compliance.