The USCIS has published updated statistics about immigrant visa usage for the 2022 fiscal year. The reports indicate that, as of the end of July, the U.S. Department of State (DOS) and the USCIS had used 210,595 employment-based immigrant visas. This number means there are still 70,000 visas available to be allocated before the fiscal year ends on September 30, 2022. However, little time remains to distribute the remaining visas. As a result, many wonder whether the USCIS will issue all remaining visas before the fiscal year ends.
The fiscal year 2022 has seen the annual limit for employment-based immigrant visas almost double. This increase is due to consular closures abroad, which started because of the COVID-19 pandemic. These closures caused nearly all 140,000 family-sponsored visa numbers to remain unused during the 2021 fiscal year.
The latest announcement came after the USCIS and DOS statement. In this statement, they emphasized their commitment to using as many available employment-based immigrant visas as possible before the end of the 2022 fiscal year. The USCIS said it approved over 10,000 employment-based adjustment status applications during the week ending August 14, 2022. The DOS also noted that it continues to issue visas at a high rate.
The USCIS also encouraged eligible applicants to transfer the underlying basis of their adjustment of status applications. These applicants were encouraged to change to the first or second employment-based preference categories. At the time, the USCIS explained there were significant numbers available in these categories for the 2022 fiscal year. In addition, they had sufficient applications in the EB-3 and EB-4 categories.
The USCIS further helped applicants who wanted to transfer the underlying basis of their adjustment-of-status applications by establishing a formal system. The USCIS also created a centralized location to handle the processing.
According to the USCIS, it should now have enough visa-available, petition-approved applications. This news means the remaining available visas in the employment-based visa categories may see use. However, the USCIS bases this claim on the DOS’s visa use projections at consular posts. Furthermore, the USCIS will still need to adjudicate these applications, which they say is among their highest priorities. Finally, to speed up the processing of some of these applications, they encouraged individuals who have applied for immigrant visas to have their medical examinations completed before the fiscal year ends.
As can be seen from this data, the USCIS has made strides toward using all of the available employment-based visas.
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