Green Card Surplus — What Does It Mean?
An often overlooked complication of the Covid-19 pandemic is its effect on United States immigration processes. Widespread embassy closures and staffing reductions for immigration officials led to a massive backlog of green card applications in 2020. These unreviewed visas roll over year-to-year, which has created a surplus of nearly 300,000 work-based green cards to be processed by September 30.
What Does This Mean?
In practical terms, this means:
- Confirmation that the last two years have been harder than usual for immigrants to obtain a green card
- As US Citizenship and Immigration Services ramp up their efforts to clear out the backlog, a record number of green cards will be available in 2022
Currently, there is a labor shortage in the US, which gives even more urgency to USCIS to push through applications that allow immigrants to enter the workforce. In the spirit of expediency, officials have even gone so far as to waive interview requirements and shuffle certain applications to lower-demand categories.
The Situation is Improving
So far this year, they've issued twice as many visas per week compared to 2021, putting them on schedule to distribute the entire surplus by the September deadline.
It is especially welcome news for Chinese and Indian immigrants. Due to per-country caps, securing a visa can be very competitive, often leaving applicants in limbo for years. While the surplus should speed along this process, it does not guarantee that every applicant will receive green cards. Per-country caps still exist, creating an extensive waitlist that the excess visas will shorten but not eliminate. The unfortunate truth is that something as simple as a mistake on paperwork could lead to lengthy delays that impede your ability to take advantage of any accelerated surplus processing.
Get Help From a Skilled Immigration Attorney
After emigrating from India, Attorney Richa Malik knows first-hand the suffering that can come from visa issues. With extensive experience in immigration law, she specializes in helping immigrants from any country avoid the same struggles that she once experienced. Contact Malik Law online or call (425) 207-1474 for a free consultation.