By: Richard T. Herman, Esq.
On 29th March 2022, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced their plan to cut backlogs. Moreover, they are planning to increase premium processing. This will be a big help for families seeking work authorization.
With the expansion in premium processing, more employers and individuals will be able to get results quickly.
In a recent statement of USCIS, they announced many improvements to decrease the burden on the immigration system. Here are the 3 key takeaways from the new plan:
- Set effective goals to reduce backlogs
- Increase premium processing to more form types
- Ensure easy access to employment authorization documents (EADs)
Unfortunately, the coronavirus pandemic has affected almost every sector of the world. Due to fewer resources in the last few years, USCIS has a huge backlog which is causing extra processing time.
Gladly, the Biden government has announced to speed up the processing times and reduce the burden. Moreover, they plan to ensure that proficient services are available to petitioners and applicants.
New Strategy to Reduce Backlogs
The USCIS is setting new internal cycle time goals to decrease the pending cases. Using internal metrics, the USCIS will try to build a strategy to enhance backlog reduction efforts. Ultimately, it will affect the time duration of application processing.
According to USCIS, when the cycle time gets better, you will see an improvement in processing times as well. As a result, petitioners and applicants will get results quicker than before.
In addition, the agency is planning to improve technology and increase its capacity. With more staff and better technology, the USCIC is hoping to achieve new goals by the end of the fiscal year 2023.
The USCIS publicly posts processing times for each form. The processing time starts when they receive an application and ends when they give a verdict on it.
To monitor the pending applications, the USCIS has an internal metric known as cycle times. The cycle time is the amount of time it takes to finish the pending cases for a certain form. Despite being an internal measurement metric, it is usually similar to the publicly posted processing times.
To analyze the progress of applications, the agency use cycle times. It reflects whether the agency is making any progress on reducing the number of pending cases or not.
Expansion of Premium Processing Service
Another highlight of the recent announcement is a final rule expanding premium processing. The premium processing is now available to temporary workers and a few particular employment-based green card applicants only.
A normal case processing time usually takes a year. However, you can get a decision on your application within 15 days through premium processing. Despite being an expensive option, it is useful for many people.
The USCIS is expanding the forms that are eligible for premium processing services. These forms include Form 1539, Form 1-765, and Form I-140. Most importantly, the USCIS said theywill follow congressional directions that premium processing expansion shouldn’t increase processing times for standard immigration benefit requests. Hence, they will gradually extend premium processing to these forms. The gradual implementation will begin with the Form I-140 filers.
Thousands of people will celebrate the expansion of premium processing services to EAD applications. Unfortunately, they are not able to lawfully in the United States. Moreover, it will offer a sigh of relief to companies who suffering due to labor shortage.
Better Access to Employment Authorization Documents (EAD)
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) aims to ensure progress towards a temporary final rule named “Temporary Increase of the Automatic Extension Period of Employment Authorization and Documentation for Certain Renewal Applicants.”
In the past few months, the agency has taken many steps to streamline various EAD processes. It involves increasing the validity periods of many EADs. Moreover, they have spedup the process of providing work authorization renewals for childcare and healthcare workers.
The USCIS plans to improve their progress and make sure that certain people don’t lose their work authorization status until their applications are pending.
Richard Herman is a nationally renowned immigration lawyer, author and activist. He has dedicated his life to advocating for immigrants and helping change the conversation on immigration. He is the founder of theHerman Legal Group, an immigration law firm launched in 1995 and recognized in U.S. World News & Report’s “Best Law Firms in America.” He is the co-author of the acclaimed book, Immigrant, Inc. —Why Immigrant Entrepreneurs Are Driving the New Economy (John Wiley & Sons, 2009). Richard’s poignant commentary has been sought out by many national media outlets, including TheNew York Times, USA Today, BusinessWeek, Forbes, FOX News (The O’Reilly Factor), National Public Radio, Inc., National Lawyers Weekly, PC World, Computerworld, CIO, TechCrunch, Washington Times, San Francisco Chronicle and InformationWeek.