Almost all employment-based immigrant visas for fiscal year 2022 have been used | Harris Beach LLC

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As the 2022 fiscal year draws to a close, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) reported that they have used nearly every employment-based immigrant visa available for fiscal year and that they would exhaust the supply of visas by the end of September. Specifically, USCIS confirmed in a statement to the court filed September 6 that “As of September 6, 2022, there are no visas remaining for applicants from any country of eligibility in EB1 or EB2.”

What is an immigrant visa?

There are two routes for eligible foreign nationals to obtain lawful permanent residence in the United States. Those outside the United States can apply for an immigrant visa at a United States Embassy/Consulate, which is part of the Department of State. Once they receive the immigrant visa and move to the United States, they will receive a permanent resident card (or green card) from USCIS. Persons inside the United States who have lawful nonimmigrant/temporary status can obtain permanent residency by applying to adjust their status to lawful permanent resident. They will receive a green card from USCIS after their application is approved. In this article, unless otherwise specified, “immigrant visa” refers to both immigrant visas issued overseas and green cards issued in the United States.

How many immigrant visas are available?

Congress sets annual limits on the number of green cards or immigrant visas that can be issued. Today, there are 366,000 available annually, with a specific quota for each category. There are two main types of green cards: family green cards (226,000 available annually) and professional green cards (140,000 available annually).

Congress also limits the number of green cards available based on country of origin. Under this “annual cap per country”, no country of origin can represent more than 7% of green cards in either category, which means that applicants from countries with a high number of applications , such as China, India, Mexico or the Philippines, could face a substantial wait. There is one exception to this “per country cap”: if the rest of the world does not use all immigrant visas, the 7% per country cap will not apply.

As a direct result of COVID-19 lockdowns and limited resources at U.S. embassies and consular offices over the past three years, many family immigrant visas that DOS did not process have been moved to the based category. on employment the following year. In fiscal year 2021, the number of employment-based immigrant visas increased by more than 120,000 due to the number of unused family-based immigrant visas in fiscal year 2020. However, due to processing delays, USCIS did not finish issuing immigrant visas for all cases and more than 66,000 employment-based immigrant visas remained unused over the course of the year. financial year 2021.

In fiscal year 2022, there were over 140,000 additional employment-based immigrant visas due to unused family immigrant visas carried over from fiscal year 2021.

How do I know when I can apply for an immigrant visa?

Each month, in coordination with the Department of State, USCIS monitors visa numbers and publishes the relevant DOS visa bulletin table. Applicants can use the charts to determine when to apply for an adjustment of status or immigrant visa. For a more detailed discussion of the Visa Bulletin, please see our July 2021 blog post.

What happens after USCIS uses nearly all available employment-based immigrant visas for fiscal year 2022?

Now that USCIS has issued all available immigrant visas in fiscal year 2022 (over 280,000), USCIS will not be able to approve any additional I-485 requests during the month of September, and those requests adjustment of status will remain pending until visas become available again in FY2023. However, USCIS is expected to continue accepting adjustment of status applications this month per the current September 2022 Visa Bulletin.

What will happen in FY2023?

DOS has released its first visa bulletin for fiscal year 2023 and currently estimates that the annual employment-based limit for fiscal year 2023 will be approximately 200,000, which includes 60,000 unused family immigrant visas. carried over from fiscal year 2022. This annual limit will be higher than it usually was before the pandemic, but lower than in fiscal years 2021 and 2022.

As of October 2022, job-based candidates under EB-2 and EB-3 with priority prior to the date listed below for their preference category and country are eligible to apply for adjustment of status:

A “C” indicates that the category is common and that applications for adjustment of status can be filed regardless of the applicant’s priority date.

We will monitor the trend and provide an update as USCIS releases additional visa bulletins in the coming months.

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