U.S. Representatives Request Administration to Update Priority Dates for Skilled Visa Holders

U.S. Representatives Request Administration to Update Priority Dates for Skilled Visa Holders
August 8, 2023

A bipartisan group of 58 lawmakers, including Representatives Raja Krishnamoorthi and Larry Bucshon, have formally requested the U.S. House of Representatives. They urged the administration to take executive action in a letter sent to the Secretaries of State and the Department of Homeland Security. The lawmakers urged the administration to address the backlog of applicants for lawful permanent residence (green cards). 

In the letter, they proposed updating the backlog with current priority dates. Backlogs have led to lengthy wait times for Green Card applicants, with those from India hitting the hardest. Wait times for Indian applicants have grown to 195 years, leaving many highly skilled employment-based visa holders unable to progress in the process.

As such, they requested that the administration update the filing dates for employment-based preference cases. Specifically, the lawmakers suggested that the administration make all employment-based visas current on the Visa Bulletin on October 1, 2023.

This change would have significant consequences. Among the most notable results would allow individuals to file employment-based applications regardless of country of origin. This change would reduce many challenges applicants in oversubscribed countries have faced due to the 7% limit per country on green card allocations.

It would enable many individuals to become eligible for Employment Authorization Documents (EADs). Acquiring these documents would allow them to change jobs without tying them to one employer. It would also act as proof of employment authorization to complete the employment eligibility verification (Form I-9) process.

The lawmakers emphasized the challenges when predicting the number of eligible applicants for employment-based green cards at the start of the government’s fiscal year on October 1. They further highlighted concerns regarding the Department of State’s inconsistent approach with the Visa Bulletin. This inconsistency confused many applicants eligible for green cards.

In addition to making all priority dates current for employment-based applicants, the administration should allow eligible applicants with an approved Form I-140 to apply for adjustment of status between October 1 and 31 of each fiscal year. This timeline could prevent any allocated green cards from going to waste.

It remains uncertain whether the administration will take these actions. However, many employers continue facing significant challenges in complying with documentation requirements in the hiring process. This struggle has proven most notable with the Form I-9. For example, employers have found determining eligible identity and work authorization documentation challenging.

Investing in an electronic Form I-9 management system is the best way to ensure uniform compliance. This system can provide step-by-step guidance and convenient electronic storage for all associated forms and documentation.

Increase your hiring and verification efficiency today with I-9 Compliance automation.