Federal government to process employment-based Green Cards

Glen D. Wasserstein, Managing Partner of ILG, specializes in immigration law, focusing on E-2 Investor Visas, L-1 visas, H-1B visas, and federal litigation. With a background in international relations, he founded ILG in 1996 and has addressed human trafficking at the United Nations Convention on Crime.

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The government failed to process all available Green Cards last year

The U.S. federal government expects to process all, employment-based green cards by the end of this fiscal year, hoping to avoid a repeat of last year when it let thousands of green cards go to waste.

Typically, about 140,000 employment-based green cards are given to foreign employees and their families a year. This number represents only a fraction of the demand, which leaves many applicants (mainly from India) in a decades-long wait.

The Covid-19 pandemic created an unusual situation where any unused green cards in the family-based visa category (mainly due to Embassy closures) became part of the employment-based category the following year. Due to this anomaly, nearly double the amount of employment green cards became available. In 2021, USCIS had 120,000 additional employment green cards available, but because of severe backlogs and understaffing at the agency, only 68,000 of those were processed. The remaining unused green cards were discarded.