Buoying the hopes of many Indians working in the US on the H-1B visa and waiting for their Green Card, the White House has said US President Joe Biden is keen to address the inordinate delays in processing of the residency application.
A Green Card or Permanent Resident Card is a coveted document issued to immigrants to the US as evidence that the bearer has been allowed to reside permanently in the country.
“The President absolutely wants to address the delays in the Green Card processing system,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki told the media on Friday, in response to a question on the wastage of some 80,000 employment-based Green Card numbers as the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) was unable to allocate them to several million people waiting in line for permanent residency.
The US immigration system currently imposes a 7 per cent per country quota on allotment of permanent legal residency.
The application process often runs into decades, becoming a source of frustration for many Indian IT professionals, and the matter has been raised often by the Indian-American community living here.
Congresswoman Mariannette Miller-Meeks recently introduced the Preserving Employment Visas Act that would allow the USCIS to preserve unused employment-based visas for use in Fiscal Years 2020 and 2021. The Indian professionals had urged the Biden administration and the US Congress to make necessary legislative changes to not let the Green Card slots expire.
“Ensuring that our immigration system is fair and orderly is one of my top priorities in Congress. These visas are already authorised by Congress and would have been used if not for the COVID-19 pandemic,” Miller-Meeks reportedly said. In fiscal 2020, as many as 1,22,000 family-preference visas had been unused.
The H-1B visa is the most sought after visa among Indian IT professionals, that allows US companies to employ foreign workers in speciality occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise.