The State of Employment Based Green Cards in Fiscal Year 2022

Fiscal Year 2022

The Department of State (DOS) has estimated that the employment-based annual visa limit will be 280,000 for the 2022 fiscal year. This limit is much higher than the typically 140,000 available. Moreover, it is even more than the 262,288 employment-based visas (green cards) available for the 2021 fiscal year, when processing delays wasted 66,781. However, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and the Department of State say they are working hard to process the available employment-based visas before the fiscal year ends on September 30, 2022.

Each fiscal year, 140,000 employment-based visas are available for applicants who qualify and 226,000 family-based green cards. If family-based visas are still available by the end of the year, they transfer to the employment-based categories. However, excess employment-based visas do not roll over into future years, wasting the unused visas. As a result, there were 66,781 employment-based visas lost when the 2021 fiscal year ended.

Most employment=based applicants try obtaining green cards through the adjustment of status (AOS) application with the USCIS. Otherwise, applicants go through consular processing abroad when applying with the DOS. Because of this, the number of adjudicated employment-based visas is significantly affected by the USCIS’s actions.

The USCIS has recently made changes, such as making a new hiring plan, redistributing applications among service centers to use its resources better, and formalizing the process for transferring pending AOS applications to other employment-based categories. The USCIS has also implemented some temporary policies to speed up processing. The temporary policies include a biometrics reuse program and a risk-based approach for scheduling the employment-based interviews of AOS applicants. In addition, the USCIS may make more policy changes to ensure all available employment-based green cards get used before the end of the 2022 fiscal year. However, even if the USCIS issues all available employment-based visas, many green card applicants will still be waiting in the enormous backlog. Hopefully, the USCIS will continue improving to speed up their processing times.

For employers that hire foreign workers, completing the Form I-9 for all workers is essential. However, completing Form I-9 can be complicated because foreign national workers may present various documents to prove their authorization to work. Therefore, employers should invest in an electronic I-9 management system to ensure completed Form I-9s. This system will guide hiring personnel through the entire process, thus guaranteeing the Form I-9 is completed correctly and stored securely.

Learn more about automating your employment eligibility verification and ensuring compliance with I-9 Compliance.