Green Card applications generally have a poor approval rate, besides being a cumbersome process. But a new system, recommended by the White House Commission, should come as a relief for scores of foreign professionals, especially Indians.
People from AAPI nations, such as China, the Philippines, and India, among others, are primarily affected by the backlog of over 1.8 million Green Card applications because there is a cap on the number of Green Cards that can be issued annually.
Now, the White House Commission has recommended issuing an employment authorisation card and other necessary travel documents to speed up the Green Card application process.
According to media reports, the White House Commission for Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) Affairs approved the recommendation.
A Green Card, also called a Permanent Resident Card, is a document issued to immigrants to the US. Employers must first file I-140 applications, and the next crucial step is the I-485 adjustment of status.
Media reports added that this is when they get their Employment Authorisation Card – EAD and travel documents Advance Parole, which authorises them to work for any employer till their Green Card application is processed, explained Indian American community leader Ajay Jain Bhutoria, who moved the recommendation during the latest meeting of AANHPI.
The proposal that US President Joe Biden gave a thumbs up to should be welcomed by hundreds of thousands of foreign professionals—the vast majority of whom are Indian Americans—whose lengthy wait period for a Green Card exceeds several decades.
Further, the proposal states that people who have had their I-140 employment-based visa petitions approved in the EB-1, EB-2 and EB-3 categories and who have been waiting in the visa backlog for five or more years should be granted employment authorisation documents (EADs) and travel documents by the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (DHS USCIS), irrespective of whether they have applied for adjustment of status.
The recommendation, which has since been approved by the Commission, stated that the EAD and travel documents should remain valid until their Green card application is processed to its final stage.
Processing can take five to 20 years, or even more in certain situations. Bhutoria cautioned that people might not receive their green cards in their lifetime on account of the current backlog.
He said that as a result, the employee must frequently work for the same employer in the same role for many years while dealing with discrimination and exploitation. He also added that frequently, they wind up in roles with pay far below their qualifications, potential, and experience.
Because there is very little job portability and it is difficult to move jobs, people and their families are put under strain and are unhappy, Bhutoria told media outlets.
“The recommendation has the potential to bring about historic changes in the US immigration system, benefiting both the nation and highly skilled foreign-born individuals eager to contribute to the United States,” Bhutoria was quoted as saying during the meeting of the Immigration subcommittee.
He added, “By encouraging entrepreneurship, addressing workforce gaps, and promoting innovation, the United States stands to gain significant economic advantages, solidifying its position as a global hub for talent and innovation.”