Many California immigrants who are present in the U.S. on work visas have applied for adjustments of status to secure green cards. Unfortunately, however, the Biden administration has done little to speed up the process, and a large number of green cards will likely go unused before they expire on Sept. 30. More than 100,000 green cards based on employment are likely to expire before the government issues them.
The slowdown in green card issuance continues
The government has an annual cap on employment-based green cards, and many people who are lawfully present in the U.S. on employment visas, including H-1B visas, wait for years to get green cards through adjustments of status. Around 90% of people who are waiting for green cards are Indian nationals who are working in the U.S. with H-1B visas under immigration law. Since there are country-based caps, some Indian nationals can wait for decades before they can secure green cards.
The slowdown on the issuance of green cards to eligible applicants has continued into the Biden administration from the former administration. During the former administration, the government placed multiple restrictions on legal immigration. Since so many green cards went unused, they were added to this year’s allowed number. However, the Biden administration has done little to speed up the process, leaving many eligible applicants in limbo.
Immigration reform is needed, but the current political climate in Congress makes immediate changes unlikely. One change the government has made that could facilitate applications is that it extended the validity of the immigration medical examination from two to four years, which should be helpful to applicants who are forced to wait for years before getting their green cards. The government has, however, been slow to issue visas through the diversity lottery program, frustrating applicants from countries around the world.