USCIS plans to process more green cards this FY under employment-based categories


The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has urged applicants to switch their employment categories as there are an exceptionally high number of employment-based immigrant visas available under the priority categories during this fiscal year through September 2022.

USCIS, the apex body overseeing the immigration process, on February 18, said that eligible employment-based green-card applicants could move to first, priority workers or second, noncitizens in professions with advanced degrees or with exceptional ability, employment-based preference categories, which will help them to fast track their application.

This is a positive development especially for Indian professionals as they are usually made to wait for a long duration.

Indian applicants face the longest waiting periods for employment-based immigration visas because of the excess number of candidates and annual nation caps that limit the different types of visas that are issued annually. The new development, however, will ease the process and help Indian immigrants.

US immigration law provides non-citizens with a variety of ways to become lawful permanent residents (i.e, Green Card) through employment in the country.

These employment-based “preference immigrant” categories include first preference, second preference and third preference. The first preference category (EB-1) is available for those who have extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics; outstanding professors and researchers; or certain multinational managers and executives.

Second preference (EB-2) allows members with professions holding advanced degrees or who have exceptional ability (including requests for national interest waivers).

Each year, approximately 140,000 US employment-based immigrant visas (green cards) are made available, and according to the USCIS, there is an “exceptionally high number of employment-based” green cards available for the fiscal year ending in September 2022.

The overall employment-based annual limit for fiscal year 2022 is approximately twice as high as usual, because that limit includes all unused family-sponsored visa numbers from fiscal year 2021, which was approximately 140,000.

In addition, under the relevant statute, any visas not required in the fifth employment-based preference category are made available in the first employment-based preference category, and any visas not required in the first employment-based preference category are made available in the second employment-based preference category, the immigration body said in a statement

“The USCIS wants to approve as many green cards as they can as there has been a huge spillover from the family quota. This has not happened in the past in such large numbers,” Economic times quoted Rajiv S Khanna, Managing Attorney of