The White House is considering recommendations made by a presidential commission to eliminate the backlogs for green card applications by April 2023. It is also considering how to reduce the processing time for these applications to six months. This report by the President’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders is under review by the White House Domestic Policy Council before sending it to the President for him to decide.
The report points out that processing enough green cards to meet the annual limit has been challenging due to the continuing effects of the 2017 travel bans and the COVID-19-related staffing limitations and closures. According to the report, the Department of State’s National Visa Center (NVC) facility should hire more officers to allow it to process 100 percent more green card applications within three months of August 2022. In addition, the report suggests increasing visa interviews, adjudication decisions, and green card applications by 150 percent by April 2023 and reducing the existing backlog by the end of 2023.
The committee also stated that green card interviews and visa processing timelines should have a targeted goal of six months. Furthermore, the commission recommended that the agency reduce the pending family-based green card backlog. Finally, it stressed the importance that the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) re-examine its processes, policies, and systems. This reevaluation should lead to new internal cycle time goals by streamlining its operations and automating manual approvals. According to the report, these steps should improve the agency’s internal dashboard and reporting system. Furthermore, it should enhance policies that decrease the cycle time for processing all forms related to applications for family-based green cards.
If there are questions about an application for a family-based green card or if more information is necessary, the USCIS and the Department of State (DOS) should continue processing the application even if it takes longer than the six-month goal and adjudicate the decision promptly. The report also recommends adjudicating petitions for H-2A and H-1B visas within two months and extending the work permit period from 180 days to 365 days.
Green cards are Permanent Resident Cards that allow people to reside in the United States permanently. In contrast, the H-1B and H-2A programs allow people to enter the United States for employment for a fixed period. These programs require an employer to file a petition with the USCIS and await approval before obtaining the work visa.
If the recommendations made by the committee are approved, it will help many people, such as those from India and China.
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