Home / News / World /  US H-1B visa, green card process to get easier, Indians to benefit

The White House is looking into a presidential commission's recommendations to cut the processing time for Green Card applications to just six months and to clear the backlogs by April 2023 in a move that could help hundreds of thousands of immigrant families, especially those from China and India.

The President's Advisory Commission on Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders released its inaugural report on Friday. The report was approved on May 12 and transmitted to the President on August 24 and the White House Domestic Policy Council is currently reviewing its recommendations before they can sent to President Joe Biden for his decision.

The report states because of COVID-19-related closures and staffing limitations as well as the continued effect of the 2017 travel bans, processing green cards up to the annual cap has been difficult. 

It recommends that the Department of State’s National Visa Center (NVC) facility should hire additional officers to increase its capacity to process Green Card application interviews by 100 percent in three months from August 2022, and by increasing Green Card applications and visa interviews and adjudicate decisions by 150 percent by April 2023, and reduce the current backlog by the end of 2023.

The committee said in the report that Green Card visa interviews and visa processing timelines should be limited to a targeted goal of six months.Green Card visa interviews and visa processing timelines should be limited to a targeted goal of six months

The commission recommends to reduce the agency’s pending family-based Green Card backlog, US Citizenship and Immigration Services should review their processes, systems, and policies and establish new internal cycle time goals by streamlining processes, removing redundant steps, if any, and automating any manual approvals.

It says this should improve its internal dashboards and reporting system, and enhance policies to reduce the cycle time for processing all forms related to family-based Green Card applications

Family reunification has been delayed for years due to an increase in family-based immigration backlogs over the past three decades.

The report states that out of the 226,000 green cards available, only 65,452 family-based preference green cards were issued in FY 2021. 

“If there is a query or more information is needed, USCIS (the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services) and the Department of State (DOS) shall continue to process the applications outside the six-month goal and adjudicate decisions in a timely fashion,"

“If an application is not completed in six months, then it will not be terminated and will continue to be processed in a timely fashion ongoing,", the report states.

The recommendations also include adjudicating requests for temporary work programmes, such as the H-1B and H-2A visas for agricultural workers within a span of two months extending the period of work permit extension to 365 days instead of the current 180 days. 

A green card is a Permanent Resident Card issued to immigrants to the US as evidence that the bearer has been granted the privilege of residing permanently while the H1B visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows US companies to hire foreign workers for specialized positions that call for theoretical or technical expertise.

If accepted and implemented the recommendations could be a big relief to immigrant families especially from India and China. 

With inputs from PTI

 

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