U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recently published updated statistics in connection with immigrant visa usage for fiscal year (FY) 2022. According to the report, as of July 31, 2022, USCIS and the U.S. Department of State (DOS) had used a total of 210,593 employment-based immigrant visas, leaving a balance of more than 70,000 visas to be allocated before the end of the fiscal year on September 30, 2022. Given the short timeline and the significant number of unused visas, many people are asking if all of the remaining visas will be used.
This announcement comes after USCIS and DOS publicly committed to maximizing the use of all available employment-based immigrant visas by the end of FY 2022. In fact, USCIS noted that it “approved more than 10,000 employment-based adjustment of status applications in the week ending August 14, 2022, and DOS continues its high rate of visa issuance, as well.”
Earlier this year, USCIS published an alert in which the agency encouraged eligible applicants to consider requesting to transfer the underlying basis of their adjustment-of-status applications to the first or second employment-based preference categories. At the time, USCIS noted that there was “an exceptionally high number of employment-based immigrant visas available in these categories” for FY 2022.
To assist those efforts, USCIS established a formalized system for applicants to transfer the underlying basis of their adjustment-of-status applications, including establishing a centralized location for processing.
More recently, USCIS encouraged immigrant visa applicants to complete their medical examinations before the end of the fiscal year to speed up processing once USCIS issues a request for evidence.
Ogletree Deakins’ Immigration Practice Group will continue to monitor developments with respect to FY 2022 immigrant visa numbers and will post updates on the Immigration blog as additional information becomes available. Important information for employers is also available via the firm’s webinar and podcast programs.