When president Joe Biden entered office last year there were high expectations and problems to solve on many topics, but especially in the area of immigration. The White House released various policies that were to alleviate the most egregious immigration laws made by previous administrations. In 2022, there have been concerns, as expected, pertaining to these issues, but as we near the end of the year we still hope for some improvements..
In the last two years backlogs in USCIS hit the roof with more than 8 million pending cases at the end of 2021. With the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic and closure of embassies and consulates around the world, in March 2020, we have seen a green card backlog affecting more than 9 million applicants..
The current administration took action to reduce these numbers by reusing biometrics for some applicants restoring policies ended by previous administrations. This allowed The USCIS to defer to its early decisions on renewal and status extension requests, as well as expanding staff and overtime work creating a hiring surge to reduce processing times. However, the millions of cases pending are time consuming, and is not realistic to think that they will be completed overnight, but the good news is that USCIS and DOS have made a dent in those millions of pendingt applications even if they are not all finished by the end of this year.
One of the plans that this administration had for this year, as it relates to immigration, is improvement to the H-1B visa program. This would allow employers in the U.S to hire highly skilled workers, even if they are foreign, and place them in positions that are difficult to fill. Eventhough this program has received backlash from critics, this improvement to the H-1B visa program will help to address various issues such as providing flexibility for start-up entrepreneurs, changes in the employer-employee relationship, raising wages for H-1B workers, and the establishment of rules for employer-site visits.
Another way you may be affected by new immigration policies is by the hike in fees that has been proposed by the State Department. This will significantly increase fees for most nonimmigrant visas in 2022, visitor visas, and student visas will be increased by 50% from $160 to $245. Employment visas will see a significant increase from $190 to $310. Click here to learn more about government imposed fees affecting immigrants.
Over the last few years we saw ongoing litigation and there is no sign of this trend changing in 2022. We saw active lawsuits over migrant protection protocols, work permit processing delays, asylum restrictions, public health orders, and the ongong discussion on the courts having the authority to decide whether a noncitizen can be protected from deportation or not. There are several other cases that will continue to be a topic of interest this year.
If you would like more information about immigration reforms, the immigration process, or if you need guidance pending immigration concerns contact us. You can submit your information here or call us to make an appointment.