US Issues 1.9 Lakh Employment-Based Immigrant Visas In FY23 - Vibes Of India

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US Issues 1.9 Lakh Employment-Based Immigrant Visas In FY23

| Updated: February 16, 2024 13:06

The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) received 10.9 million filings in FY 2023 and completed more than 10 million pending cases – both record-breaking numbers in the agency’s history.

The agency’s end-of-fiscal year (FY) 2023 data says USCIS reduced overall backlogs by 15 per cent this year. Among USCIS’ record number of case completions in FY 2023, the agency administered the Oath of Allegiance to more than 8,78,500 new US citizens, including 12,000 members of the military, effectively eliminating the backlog of naturalisation applications.

The median processing time for naturalisation applicants decreased from 10.5 months to 6.1 months by the end of the fiscal year, achieving the agency’s longstanding goal and significantly reducing waiting times for most individuals seeking US citizenship.

In FY 2023, USCIS and the Department of State helped meet the needs of US employers by issuing more than 1,92,000 employment-based immigrant visas – far above the pre-pandemic number – and, for the second year running ensured that no available visas went unused.

The agency further supported US employers and noncitizen workers in FY 2023 by increasing the maximum validity period of Employment Authorization Documents (EADs) to five years for adjustment of status applicants.

USCIS clarified eligibility for a range of immigration services, including the International Entrepreneur Rule, the EB-1 immigrant visa for individuals of extraordinary ability and outstanding professors and researchers, and the waiver of the two-year foreign residence requirement for J-1 cultural and educational exchange visitors (including foreign medical graduates). USCIS proposed a new rule to strengthen worker protections and the integrity of the H-2 temporary worker programme.

USCIS also removed the biometrics fee and appointment requirement for applicants for a change or extension of nonimmigrant status and updated the agency’s interpretation of the Child Status Protection Act to prevent many child beneficiaries of noncitizen workers from “aging out” of child status, allowing them to seek permanent residence along with their parents.

USCIS’s new self-service tool for online rescheduling of biometrics appointments was used to reschedule over 33,000 such appointments in FY 2023.

USCIS’s new enterprise change of address capabilities enabled over 430,000 address changes to be submitted online through December 2023. This tool is expected to reduce USCIS Contact Center phone inquiries by up to 31 per cent, or approximately 1.5 million inquiries annually.

From August to September 2023, USCIS received more than 16,000 field office appointment requests using our online request form.

In FY 2024, the agency is continuing to build on this progress while monitoring and addressing remaining processing delays. USCIS will work to maintain the median processing times of 30 days for certain EAD applications filed by individuals who entered the United States after scheduling an appointment through the CBP One mobile application or through the CHNV processes.

The agency also proposed new rules to modernize and improve the efficiency and integrity of the H-1B programme for specialty occupation workers. USCIS will work to maintain naturalization processing times and utilise all available employment-based visas.

As a fee-funded agency, USCIS achieved all these accomplishments within the constraints of a fee schedule that was last updated in 2016. USCIS announced a new fee schedule that allows USCIS to more fully recover their operating costs.

Finally, USCIS will implement new online filing tools to enhance the customer experience, including adding organizational accounts, launching online filing of H-1B petitions on Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker, and adding an additional electronic intake channel for submission of forms and evidence in PDF format.

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