Indian applications will likely have to wait longer for green cards, recent data from the US immigration agency stated. A total of 369,322 applicants, who have approved employment visa petitions, are awaiting visa availability under the EB2 and EB3 (for professionals and skilled workers) categories.
Technology firms use EB2 and EB3 categories to sponsor visas for immigrant workers. Applicants get a green card or permanent residence on these visas.
Talking about the data on the US immigration website of applications waiting for green cards, LawQuest’s Poorvi Chothani told The Economic Times, “This only tells you how many people are waiting for their visa numbers to get a green card.”
“They have not provided the number of family members attached to these principal applicants, which is important because visas granted to family members are counted towards the per-country maximum allowed each year. So, we are looking at several decades of wait time,” the managing partner at LawQuest told ET.
The applicants have an approved Form 1-140, the first step for an employment-based green card. After the forms, Indian-born applicants “have to wait several years for their priority dates to become current. After the dates become current, the final step of the green card, the issuance of the immigrant visa, can further take several years because of the USCIS processing delays,” immigration.com’s managing partner Rajiv S Khanna told the newspaper.
In the first two quarters of FY22, from October 2021 to March 2022, Indians filed the highest number of I-140 petitions, stated the data released by the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
The immigration agency received 37,719 applications in that duration, while, in the same period, 25,274 were approved. However, even after these applications were approved, this does not mean that they were issued green cards.
The immigration agency this year has been doing away with in-person interviews for several applications to speed up the processing of green cards.
“Interviewing all employment-based applicants was a practice implemented by the Trump administration that adds multiple years to the green card processing. Historically, employment-based green card applicants within the US rarely had to go through personal interviews,” Khanna told ET.
Last fiscal year, around 80,000 green cards were unused due to processing delays.